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PM’s visit: Telugu CMs in contrasting moods

This week-end’s two-day visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana has drawn contrasting responses from the ruling parties here. Therein lie the tale of two Telugu states and their rulers’ dilemmas. Modi’s visit to AP is a celebration time for the YSRCP but the TRS cries foul over it

The ruling YSRCP and the BJP are no allies and there is no love lost between them. Nowadays the two are not even polite to each other. But that’s for public consumption.

The government is ever willing to please the Prime Minister and keep him in good humour and it is precisely doing the same now. Reports indicate that the State BJP leadership is fuming and fretting at the government’s ‘ardour’ for the PM and its overzealousness in making the tour a success.

The BJP cannot be so blind to the exigencies of the Chief Minister’s adulation of the Prime Minister as it is not just a political point the latter needs to score but also draw a personal comfort in seeking his benign grace. Jagan is no political ally of the BJP but more of a pragmatic customer whose own interests are paramount to him and, hence, the play.

Of course, Jagan had no qualms in admitting soon after he became the Chief Minister that he would prefer a ‘tone of conciliation’ with the Centre and would keep pleading for protection of AP’s interests. He has been doing it ever since that day and cannot be held responsible if rivals draw other inferences related to his pending cases.

The demand for the Special Category Status was given up by his predecessor, N Chandrababu Naidu, himself and any reference to it now sounds more like a eulogy. The CM, of course, will plead for his pending wishes again.

If Jagan plays his ‘perception politics’ thus, the neighbouring Telangana, too, needs to put on its own show – that of opposing the BJP ‘tooth and nail’. Unlike the YSRCP, the TRS is all peppered and propped to attack Modi during his visit on November 12.

The Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao, who is nurturing an ambition not only to make a mark on the national political scene but also play a key role in future, fancies himself playing David against his imaginary Goliath.

The TRS, like the YSRCP, has always been a ‘friend’ of the BJP in the Parliament on various occasions in the passage of several Bills. Some irritants have set in over a period once it realised that the BJP was seriously aiming to upstage it in the State.

The war of words has proliferated to the extent that the CM does not prefer to adhere to the protocol during the PM’s visits. The BJP might feel that KCR vitiates even trivialities but they need to contend with his attitude.

A shrewd KCR always seeks to divert the people’s attention from such VVIP visits, by hogging the media-space somehow on such days. In contrast, Jagan prefers to share the space with Modi.

The PM’s visit this time around too will be no different and the TRS will be ‘questioning’ Modi for his ‘intentional neglect of Telangana interests.’ Poor BJP, it is in no position to digest the adulation of the YSRCP or the criticism of the TRS.