All roads lead to Hyderabad
(Dr Pentapati Pullarao)
When Rome was the capital of Roman Empire thousands of years ago, there was a famous proverb : “All roads lead to Rome”. It meant Rome was the center of power. Today, we find all political parties are heading towards Hyderabad. The Congress party, BJP, Mamata Banerjee Arvind Kejriwal have all announced that from April, 2022, they will increase their political actions in Telangana.
Telangana is a political strategic asset. Its location, economic prosperity and the fact that political parties think there is a vacuum in political leadership are making them rush to Telangana. Telangana is ruled by a regional party TRS and the opposition are all national parties like the Congress, BJP and Arvind Kejriwal. Telangana is a rare state in India where there is only one regional party and the rest are national parties.
- National parties sense that the TRS government has become weaker and hence they should try to get a stake in Telangana. Congress wants to retain its place and the BJP wants to expand. Arvind Kejriwal wants to make a hit in the assembly elections in Telangana.
- Telangana is the capital of IT, software, Tollywood, Telugu media and the home of every wealthy and famous Telugu. Even after a separate Andhra Pradesh, Andhra elite live in Hyderabad and rule Andhra like the British did from London. I don’t see the families of Andhra politicians, real estate rich, IT businessmen, movie stars and the elite sitting by the banks of river Krishna in Vijayawada or on the beaches of Vizag. They live in Hyderabad.
- Telangana on automatic pilot: Hyderabad gained greatly by being the capital of a big Andhra Pradesh. The rich invested in Telangana. It really does not matter who rules Telangana, A Telangana government has to provide public safety and Telangana will grow as if it is on “ automatic pilot”. Even retired private citizens of Andhra migrate to Hyderabad as its cost of living is lower than Vizag or Vijayawada.
Why political parties are rushing to Hyderabad?
a. Telangana is a small state. It has only 119 MLAs. If a party gets even 10 MLAs, it becomes a major player. As assembly elections are coming first in 2023, it is a semi-final for the national parties. If a political party makes a mark in Telangana, then it becomes a gateway to Andhra and other Telugu speaking areas.
b. Having been center of a big state of Andhra Pradesh, there is a huge pool of un-employed politicians in the small state of Telangana. TRS also is suffering from indigestion of “too many leaders and too few posts”. National parties can find ready talent in Telangana.
KCR, Prashant Kishor and Kejriwal
TRS government faces anti-incumbency. It has run out of ideas and brought in election consultant Prashant Kishor. Naturally all the national parties will attack KCR and this will definitely hurt KCR. The entry of Prashant Kishor changes the TRS. Henceforth, it will not be run by politicians, but by a marketing consultant .
Prashant Kishor will demand that most of the Sitting MLAs be dropped and that all government schemes be targeted only towards those who are inclined to vote for TRS. This will create dissensions in Telangana society, as the deprived will get more angry.
PK exploiting difference in society
Prashant Kishor will also exploit the differences in society. There is no guarantee of victory by Prashant Kishor. So Prashant Kishor presents a big dilemma to KCR. How much power should KCR give Prashant Kishor and reduce his own role in his own party and government? Naturally, other TRS leaders are upset, but will keep quiet till they know whether they will be denied tickets. Then they will rush to other parties.
Impact of Arvind Kejriwal on KCR:
Kejriwal’s party is different from other parties The normal Telugu politician is rich from real estate, sand mining, liquor shops, colleges or some other business. You can recognize a Telugu politician by his prosperous air, big vehicles and sometimes fake security guards around him. Kejriwal’s party is just the opposite where the common man is a leader with his scooter.
- Kejri attack on KCR
Kejriwal’s party has launched a serious attack on KCR calling him corrupt and a “ Chinna Modi”. Kejrwial was under-estimated in Delhi and Punjab and he finished the Congress. It is not that Kejriwal will defeat KCR. But Kejriwal will erode KCR by his criticism and this will definitely benefit the BJP and Congress.
KCR is part of the opposition. Can he sit on the same stage with Kejriwal, and Rahul Gandhi, who are attacking him mercilessly? There will be smiles on the stage , but in Telangana, they are abusing each other. If KCR wants to enter national politics, he needs friends. If Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi are his enemies, then who are his friends? If KCR wants to be friendly with Rahul Gandhi and Kejriwal, then he should offer them an alliance
`Prashant Kishor is allegedly a consultant for KCR. But Prashant Kishor is also a consultant for KCR’s enemies like Rahul Gandhi and Mamata Banerjee . Prashant Kishor has different interests from KCR. Soon time will tell us if KCR made a great decision by getting Prashant Kishor or a big blunder. Prashant Kishor and Kejriwal have very good terms. What advice will Prashant Kishor give KCR on how to defeat Kejriwal ?
KCR should avoid the Mahabharata Abhimanyu trap ,where enemies look like friends and friends are actually enemies! (Author is a prominent political analyst based at Delhi)