CBN, the self-made politician with the journey from a small family to a student leader, MLA, minister, marrying into illustrative NTR family, a master strategist in TDP to TDP supreme and Chief Minister of AP is certainly a remarkable achievement. He had beaten to dust twice in 2004 and 2009 by YSR despite a strategic alliance with BJP and TRS respectively. His political career hit the lowest in 2012 with TDP candidates losing deposits in assembly by-elections to Jagan’s YCP. Everyone felt his politically active life came to an end. Luck turned in his favor with state separation, followed by CBN strategic alliance with BJP and Pavan in 2014 elections. CBN back into action with full glory in 2014, like it was during 1999-2004. Both AB Vajpayee and Modi are honest, ABV believed in “Gandhian Socialism” hence accommodative, whereas Modi believes in “Sangh Pariwar Socialism “hence accusative to CBN.
It was a happy wedding, with a free hand given to AP in the implementation of Polavaram, preferential treatment in housing, huge infrastructure projects etc. CBN took the onus on him when Modi took U to turn on special category status (SCS), railway zone, Port, Steel plant and depended on GOI. CBN never took a tough stand on the above issues and rather argued in favor of Modi. When PM and FM announced Spl package (SP) in place of SCS, CBN readily accepted it and gone on record stating that SP is better than SCS. He further stated that cases will be booked on people who support SCS and put them behind bars. All these appeasement tactics did not work and Modi followed the time tested management principle “Trust but verify” which is a big shock to CBN and a straight hit on his ego. With glaring corruption in housing, Polavaram, Pattiseema, Amaravati, Temporary secretariat construction etc., Modi decided to keep TDP at a distance. Though it looks from the outside that TDP walked away from NDA, it was not a choice but out of compulsion.
Depending on special package, projecting SaP as big achievement of CBN, talking big about central institutions to state, a similar joint announcement the on port, steel plant, justifying grants to backward districts, deficit financing etc., are not very difficult for CBN, who is expert in making a mountain out of the mole. Anyhow “YES BOSS MEDIA” is there to create “make it believe situations”. The feelers sent by CBN in this regard were not well received by Modi-Shah combine who were looking for opportunities to get rid of TDP from NDA.
Like the wounded tiger, CBN went over binding in criticizing Modi, tried for internal conflict in BJP/NDA. With no traces of success there, he tried for uniting the opposition against Modi using Rahul as a platform and miserably failed. Stalin unilaterally announcing Rahul as PM candidate of UPA, without taking self-claimed UPA convenor CBN into confidence is the clear indication of CBN position there. KCR outright rejection of an
alliance with TDP and subsequent developments in TG elections further added to a declining image of CBN.
CBN may be a popular regional Hero, but can he compete with Bollywood rebel star like Modi? Having understood the limitations, planned a multi starrer with Rahul, a debut hero from celebrity family and finding it difficult at the box office. With running behind Modi, CBN neglected the regional market and gave scope for young hero Jagan to extend his roots deep into the system. Before he realized the damage, continuous flops poured in like recent Rajinikanth movies. “NTR- KATHANAYAKUDU” movie a brainchild of CBN to revive back the glory and planned to cash on emotions was a disaster at the box office and left bitter memories in TDP. Now CBN is desperately looking for a reasonable hit at the box office to stay relevant infield, with a hope to get character artist roles in future.
Under CBN leadership TDP won general elections twice, both occasions riding on BJP wave. In 1999, it was AB Vajpayee sympathy wave (losing vote of confidence with one vote) and in 2014 with NaMo mania sweeping the Nation. Despite a huge positive feeling of good governance and projected sympathy wave due to life attack on CBN at Alipiri in 2004 and Jala Yagnam- Dhana Yagnam campaign with opposition unity against YSR in 2009, CBN lost the battles.
In 2019, CBN is caught in a situation of no one interested in having an alliance with him. Literally, opposition parties are seeing TDP as explosive and maintaining a safe distance. Even the Congress party who is new found love of CBN is preferring to operate within safe Zone. The hide and seek game between TDP and Janasena reminds us of “MOHINI-BHASMASURA” and who fits into what role is anyone’s guess. The series of national media poll surveys projecting humiliating defeat to TDP, desperate moves in announcing/copying welfare programs fearing a surge of YCP, hardened stand and all-around attacks from BJP and TRS pushed TDP into a situation of “ HOME ALONE”.
It is clearly evident that CBN for the first time has to face a lone battle in 2019 elections. Remember, it’s not his choice – it’s by compulsion. It is clearly established that he is fishing in troubled waters. Will he survive this lone battle and come out successful is a billion dollar question.