Hypocrisy on dynastic politics : Modi-led BJP woos several ‘family-owned parties’ to make a dent in the Telugu States,  AP and Telangana

Modi

 Photo Courtesy narendramodi.in: Modi addressed election rallies in both Telugu states that will cast vote on May 13. Photo is of rally at  NDA Rally in Rajahmundry, AP, on May 6.Purandeshwari, next to Modi, NTR’s daughter is the BJP candidate here. She is an elder sister of  Chandra Babu Naidu’s wife. Modi totally avoided his pet theme on ‘family-owned parties’ and political dynasties, as BJP desperately depends upon them to make a dent in AP.  He is flanked by members of three such families. (More on the photo later in the story.)

This story, presented in a series of articles, is worth studying, also by political scientists, as it indicates how politics are now carried on in India: they are most opportunistic, most unethical, with notoriously corrupt dynasties dictating politics, aided by moneybags and a flood of liquor supplied free of cost to supporters and voters. Caste politics are at their peak in AP, while Modi played up rabid anti-Muslim politics in Telangana as never before. 

Post-truth is in full command: Leaders, right from the PM to the local-level, tell brazen lies – not just distortions – and get away with it. The PM says he is sure of being the PM for a third time with backing of 400 plus seats, but blames Congress is backed by Muslim League and Pakistan, and is out to re-distribute all wealth including mangala sutras of Hindu women, and all reservations to Muslims. He said in a May 8 rally at  Warangal that ‘Congress opposed President Murmu’s candidature because she is ‘black like an African!’.

He is equaled in AP, for instance, only by Naidu who likens CM Jagan Mohan Reddy and his rule to a psycho, Hitler, Osama Bin Laden, Taliban, Kim of North Korea…many of the media outlets that back him carry it. He said all this on May 6, for instance in Anakapalli and Kurnool. And shares the stage with Modi, ‘the visionary’.


It is not Modi’s charisma that wins elections, particularly in south, as projected by BJP and a servile media. We have seen the Karnataka story in Part-4, where Modi-led BJP wooed, not one but several corrupt families, to make a mark there. This part-5 deals with Telugu states, particularly Andhra Pradesh (AP).   

This series began with part-1 titled: India’s is a ‘constitutional autocracy’ : Hereditary ruling classes are inherent in India, said Ambedkar ( 17/04/2024)

https://countercurrents.org/2024/04/indias-is-a-constitutional-autocracy-hereditary-ruling-classes-are-inherent-in-india-said-ambedkar

Part-2 “ Beware of Parliamentary Democracy”, warned Ambedkar and added, “Hereditary ruling classes are inherent in it” (19/04/2024)

https://countercurrents.org/2024/04/beware-of-parliamentary-democracy-warned-ambedkar-and-added-hereditary-ruling-classes-are-inherent-in-it

Part-3 Hypocrisy on dynastic politics : Modi’s BJP has its own political families (22/04/2024)

https://countercurrents.org/2024/04/hypocrisy-on-dynastic-politics-modis-bjp-has-its-own-political-families

 Part 4 : The Karnataka story: Modi’s charisma is a myth, BJP banks on corrupt political families  to make a dent in the South  (28/04/2024) 

https://countercurrents.org/2024/04/ambedkar-on-dynastic-politics-part-4-the-karnataka-story

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BJP  in 2019 polls in AP,  polled less than one percent vote, less than NOTA vote, despite hectic campaign by Modi and Amit Shah.

It was its lowest vote in India. Modi’s charisma has little space in AP, where BJP preferred to be a junior partner in a formal NDA-AP unit, stitched up with great difficulty.   

There were voices within TDP opposing a formal alliance with BJP, fearing that would alienate minorities, Muslims as well as  (many dalits are converted) Christians. But Naidu convinced them that a tie-up with Central power is more crucial to check Jagan. He is proved right as the Centre, through Election Commission, is actively using its clout over IAS and IPS officials. 

Therefore Naidu facilitates such a weak BJP to get a foot-hold in AP, thus in south India, admittedly to save his ‘family-owned party’ as Modi had called it,  and to survive in AP politics. 

BJP seeks to gain strength in AP through four “family-owned parties” as Modi calls them. It does not bank on Modi’s charisma.

The allies in NDA have nothing in common, ideologically; nor they have any common minimum program (CMP). In fact, BJP delinked itself from some promises made by Naidu. And Naidu said he is for continuing existing reservations to Muslims, while BJP said it would abolish them. However, Modi never indulged in his anti-Muslim rhetoric in AP where it does not sell. That was blown up only in Telangana. Their only professed goal is to unseat Jagan. 

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Chandra Babu Tailors: TDP, NDA ally of BJP, stitched up tacit deals with many

Chandra Babu Naidu

TDP Chief , Naidu, stitching up alliances, Right and Left. He is currently an NDA ally, with BJP; he also has a tacit deal with Congress and the Left parties, and funds them too. This is a decades-old cartoon, but apt today, by renowned cartoonist Sridhar, published decades ago in the leading Telugu daily newspaper Eenadu, of ETV group, that backs him fully. CBN has been a master-tailor w ho stitched up alliances with Left and BJP simultaneously, as in 1985 and later too.

Despite claims of ‘400 plus’ seats, for public consumption, Modi-led BJP  has its own doubts, and so is out to woo any dynasty that may help BJP.

TDP, founded by NT Rama Rao, admittedly fearing a sure defeat by YSRCP (Yuvajana Shramika Raitu Congress Party), facilitates that, by offering six out of 25 Loksabha seats to such a weak BJP, and two to Jana Sena Party, which polled five times more votes than BJP. With these pre-poll alliances, and post-truth approach, Naidu asserts NDA will win 25/25 Loksabha seats, and 160/175 Assembly seats in AP. 

The alliance is also there for AP Assembly elections, with 175 constituencies, being held simultaneously, on May 13. Naidu alloted 21 seats to Jana Sena, and 10seats to BJP, out of 175. He has a key role in deciding candidates in all other parties too. 

Chandra Babu Naidu (CBN), the unscrupulous TDP  Chief who had deserted NDA in 2018, and earlier condemned Modi as a communal terrorist, now says Modi is a great visionary.

And BJP dumped its own cadres and leaders of RSS-BJP camp, and wooed billionaires from political families, to stitch up a pre-poll NDA alliance, led by TDP in AP. Out of the six seats it had bargained and  was given by Naidu, only one has a candidate with BJP background.

The rest are a few billionaires, including fraudsters charged in cases of bank frauds, forgeries, tax evasion, and other scams, all supplied or decided by Naidu, where BJP fields many, whom a BJP leader called Andhra’s Vijay Mallyas, as its candidates.

And TDP led by Naidu had long ago sacrificed its basic policies of opposing Centre’s autocracy; NTR,its founder, had once called Centre a myth. Now Naidu stoops before Centre, and called for President’s Rule in AP, to dismiss YSRCP government.  

Modi had once blamed, in a mass rally during earlier elections, TDP as a most corrupt party that turned the Polavaram Mega Irrigation project into its ATM, and looted thousands of crores of rupees. Now Modi, claiming to be fighting against corruption, showered all praises on Naidu, and said he would advance AP’s development, under a ‘double-engine sarkar’  of NDA.

 Naidu is AP’s Ajit Pawar, who was condemned by Modi as most corrupt, but only until he joined NDA.  Naidu was recently in Rajahmundry jail for over 50 days, charged with several scams: It was central agencies that probed and fixed him. The YSRCP govt pursued those cases. Now Naidu joined NDA, praised Modi, who reciprocated the compliments. 

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Two hereditary parties, and three multi-billionaire families of AP are now with Modi

India under Modi is going to have its costliest election ever, and costlier than anywhere  else.

The expected expenditure is estimated by CMS (Centre For Media Studies)  at Rs. 1.35 lakh crore, compared to Rs. 60,000 cr in 2019 (Economic Times, PTI, Apr 25, 2024). No country, not even USA, equals India in this respect.

We have seen how Mrs. Nirmala Sitaraman, India’s Finance Minister, offered a Loksabha seat again by Modi-led BJP, declined the offer saying she can not imagine to spend a huge sum; nor she has the community- caste chemistry required to win the election. She is obviously clear in her mind Modi’s charisma won’t help her win.   

The photo in the beginning of this article is of an NDA rally with two hereditary parties, and three multi-billionaire  families of AP. There are several candidates in the two Telugu states who purchased their seats @ Rs 100 cr per Loksabha seat, and some of them are ready to spend double that amount to win the seat. One candidate, for instance, declared assets worth Rs. 4500 cr. 

It is all a contest between moneybags, dispersed in five parties of AP (YSRCP and Congress are other two parties.)  Jagan Mohan Reddy,  Chief Minister of AP is a multi- billionaire, son of YS Rajasekhar Reddy (YSR), former CM of undivided AP. Jagan broke away from Congress, set up in 2011 his own party, YSRCP , outwitted TDP and won 151 seats and almost 50% vote (49.95) in AP assembly elections of 2019. TDP won 23 seats with 39 percent vote.  JSP won one seat with 5.53 percent vote.  

 YSR’s daughter Sharmila is now made, sidelining many seniors, the chief of AP unit of Congress party, that was wiped out by YSRCP, and polled less than one percent vote.

Now more about the photo above: Chandra Babu Naidu (CBN, in the backdrop, to the Right), son-in-law of late NTR, controls the ‘family-owned party, TDP, founded by late NTR.  Purandeswari, daughter of NTR, is now ‘leased in’ and made BJP chief of AP unit. She was married to Daggupati Venkateswara Rao, former Minister, a co-brother of Naidu, who married Bhuvaneshwari, another daughter of NTR.

The Daggupati family is the chief villain of Karamchedu dalit massacre, and was shielded and helped by NTR and Naidu (more on that later), who are all related by marriages.The multi-billionaire family has its own quota of topmost film heroes and producers.

Purandeswari  is a turn-coat who was in TDP, then joined Congress that made her a Union Minister, and for now in BJP. Left to her in the photo is prince Nara Lokesh, son of Naidu, declared as successor to Naidu. He was made a Minister in AP cabinet (2014-19) though he was defeated in the Assembly polls.

Right to Modi in the photo is film star Pawan Kalyan, ‘owner’ of Jana Sena Party (JSP), who was defeated in both seats he contested in 2019, and tries his luck this time in Pithapuram, leased out to him by Naidu. Pawan belongs to the ‘mega cinema stars family’(with around eight top film heroes).  Pawan’s brother Naga Babu, also an actor, is also a key leader of JSP, also shared the dias.

Pawan is the younger brother of  film star Chiranjeevi, who had in 2008, set up Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), won a good number (18/294) of seats, only to merge it in 2011 into Congress years ago, and becoming a union Minister in 2012. Modi wooed him with the Padma vibhushan, just in time for this election, on 2024 Republic Day. JSP basing itself on Kapu caste, is a clone of PRP founded by his elder brother, who recently gave a few crores to his younger brother’s JSP.    

Late NTR, a cinema star, is having successors in three parties jostling for power in AP. NTR who never seriously read newspapers, himself was an upshot of a politician, played up and down, finally dethroned unceremoniously, by a Kamma-caste cabal, led by CBN.  That included Telugu media baron of Eenadu and E-TV Ramoji Rao, now in the news for the Margadarsi Chit Funds  case.

These two cabals led by Naidu and Pawan, openly playing caste politics vis-a-vis Reddys of YSRCP, are going all out, and facilitating Modi-led BJP expanding its political foot-print in AP, and in the South.

BJP had also wooed the ruling, “family-owned” (Modi says so) YSRCP party,founded by Jagan mohan Reddy, CM of AP, son of YS Rajasekhar Reddy, former CM of undivided AP, as a de facto ally, since 2019.  That party, though without any formal alliance, supported BJP in the crucial Rajya Sabha where it had no majority. NTR’s second wife Laxmi Parvati, is now a leader in YSRCP.In fact, TDP and YSRCP vied with each other in wooing Modi.

However, YSRCP was not ready to accommodate BJP as a formal ally. It offered not a single seat to BJP.  So BJP had no other option than to join hands with TDP.

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Modi personally canvassed for CM Ramesh, one of the “Andhra Mallyas”, as a BJP spokesman said 

1

Home Minister Amit shah (Centre) and BJP President JP Nadda with TDP MPs, all billionaires, (fom right) C M Ramesh, Y S Chowdary, T G Venkatesh  and Garikapati Mohan Rao, (not in the photo)  who joined BJP June 21, 2019, soon after polls. Photo courtesy: (Twitter/@BJP4India). Two of them were called “Andhra’s Vijay Mallyas” by a BJP spokesman.   

“BJP’s mantra is development, development & development and YSRCP mantra is corruption, corruption & corruption”, said PM Modi in Anakapalle, where CM Ramesh, an Andhra Mallya, now an MP, is currently a candidate of BJP there.

 It is the constituency where the famous PSU, Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, sought to be “developed by  privatization” by Modi regime, is located. Adani was eyeing it, but public outcry came in the way. Modi addressed two massive public meetings in Rajahmundry and Anakapalle, AP on May 6.  

In November 2018, BJP MP and spokesperson G V L Narasimha Rao called C M Ramesh and Y S Chowdary “Andhra Mallyas” and wrote to the Rajya Sabha Ethics Committee, seeking initiation of “suitable action” against them.  The Modi-led BJP took “suitable action,”  admitted them into BJP, the ‘washing machine’.  Modi personally was in Anakapalli on May6 , canvasing for Ramesh. 

C M Ramesh and Y S (Sujana) Chowdary, two of the four TDP Rajya Sabha members who crossed over to the BJP in 2019, are also multi-billionaire industrialists and have been under the scanner of Income Tax, CBI and Enforcement Directorate.

With tacit backing of Naidu, they had joined the BJP in June 2019, weeks after TDP’s defeat, and sought a merger of the TDP Legislature Party with it in the Upper House, where BJP was in minority, and needed help. (PTI, 20/Jun/2019). 

CM Ramesh, was  also previously accused of creating shell companies and siphoning off money. BJP MP Ramesh is accused no. 1 in a Rs 450-crore forgery case.  ( newindianexpress.com,  24 Mar 2024)

Ramesh was under an income tax investigation, amounting to Rs 100 crore. Ramesh’s company Rithwik Projects Pvt. Ltd (RPPL) allegedly siphoned Rs 74 crore through untraceable transactions, while bills of Rs 25 crore were found to be “dubious”. The Income Tax department raided the premises of Ramesh’s company in Hyderabad and his residence in Kadapa.  The I-T department had seized several documents from both locations. 

YS (Sujana) Chowdary: According to CBI, electrical equipment manufacturer Best and Crompton Engineering Projects Ltd (BCEPL), which fraudulently obtained loans of over Rs 360 crore from a consortium of banks and then defaulted, is linked to Chowdary. The agency said Chowdary, with a few shell companies, allegedly took assistance of a BCEPL chartered accountant to divert Rs 71.46 crore to other entities. The CBI had filed the case in 2017 against five directors of BCEPL.

All cases against all the defectors are now dormant if not closed after they  joined BJP. All film stars are known tax-evaders. 

https://indianexpress.com/article/india/tdp-mps-joins-bjp-two-face-cbi-ed-it-probes-mallyas-5791624

See also theprint.in, 21 June, 2019.

https://theprint.in/politics/2-tdp-mps-who-switched-to-bjp-are-facing-probe-by-cbi-ed-it-one-was-raided-20-days-ago/252789

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Modi speaks against dynasty politics, but woos them all over India. In AP and TS he hobnobs with several dynasties that are engaged in rabid caste politics

NTR

NTR (far right in the photo) was a film star turned politician like MGR and Jayalalitha : All three stars became CMs. NTR notorious for his rank nepotism  has a larger-than-life image. He was a leader with caste politics that haunt AP and its politics till date, as we shall see.    

The other two in the photo are CBN (Babu) on extreme Left, and Daggupati. The two were given key posts in TDP and in the Cabinet too. Daggupati, is weary of Naidu, and being the husband of Purandeswari, plays politics, mostly through her.  

Modi, who speaks of fighting dynastic rule, has been wooing NTR’s dynasty. Modi attempted to impress relevant clans as also people when he said in his Rajahmandry speech:

“NTR garu, who personified the roles of L ord Ram and Krishna on screen, and who (as TDP founder president and AP CM ) strived for the poor, was troubled, disrespected by the Congress. We have released a coin in commemoration of NTR’s birth centenary,” said Modi, as his Hindi speech was translated for the audience by Purandeswari, NTR’s daughter, and AP BJP chief. Bharat Ratna for NTR is also under consideration.Modi must be knowing that…

NTR strived more for his family than for the poor. Karamchedu showed it all.

Driven by nepotism , NTR ditched his own principle not to admit those who contested against TDP when it was founded in 1983, he admitted CBN who was a Congress candidate and was defeated by TDP. Naidu later usurped the TDP even while NTR was alive. His TDP was later an ally of NDA led by Vajpayee.

It is a case of all in the family, as in many regional parties in India: Apart from his two sons-in-law, Harikrishna, NTR’s  son, was made an MLA, MP and a cabinet Minister. His daughter Daggupati Purandeswari became a Union Minister of UPA much later. His son Balakrishna, a film star, has been an MLA, while Babu’s son prince Lokesh is now the proclaimed successor to TDP after CBN, and was made a Minister though he was defeated in 2014 elections. There are more leaders in the queue. None of NTR’s 12 children, as also their spouses, supported him when he was toppled by CBN. Only his second wife, Lakshmi Parvati stood by him, and she became a leader and MLA, but had to leave TDP.  Now she is in YSRCP as a leader.

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Karamchedu dalit massacre, 1985: Modi allies with the culprits

 Notorious for Karamchedu:Purandeshwari, wife of former minister, Venkateswara Rao Daggupati, it should be noted, is the daughter-in-law of Daggupati landlord family that was notorious for Karamchedu dalit massacre of 1980s. And now she is suddenly and surprisingly made the BJP chief of AP unit, side-stepping all BJP seniors, particularly of RSS mould. Rao is co-son-in-law of Naidu, who married NTR’s another daughter, Bhuvaneswari, one of the sisters of Purandeswari.

On 1985 July 17, six dalits of farm labor class of  Karamchedu village were brutally attacked, killed and some bodies dumped in a canal. Many were injured, 20 of them severely, not even sparing pregnant women and mothers with small children, and four women raped. They beat up, tortured and chased the Dalits. Hundreds were displaced.  A female key witness of the massacre was murdered later in 1987 August.

Karamchedu was not merely one notorious incident, but was developing into a phenomenon at the time. Karamchedu was a mass massacre, followed by Neerukonda village massacre (July 1987) wherein five rural poor (SCs) people were killed. Later, the atrocities continued under Congress rule and eight Dalits were killed in Chundur (August 1991). Now caste politics are more sophisticated; it is more political casteism.

Modi said YSRCP’s mafia raj must be ended, and a double-engine sarkar with Naidu as CM must be heralded. YSRCP is presented in TDP media as a mafia party. TDP was no less a mafia that indulged in extortion and murders too. YSRCP leaders say the boot is on the leg. A little background, and some examples are useful:  

– Rayalaseema districts of AP were notorious for brazen factionalists with rivals who wielded guns, unlicensed too. They made bombs at home, and killed hundreds using hired killers. They were successors of old feudals, palegars, who later became politicians, Ministers etc. Most of them were in Congress, the major party of ruling classes. YSR was one from such a background. When NTR and TDP entered the scene in 1982-83, some of them joined TDP. The parties were only shields for old factions. Thus TDP being a ruling party for around 25 years, they attracted their own quota. There are many Telugu cinemas glorifying these landlords.

– Both sides had leaders who wielded guns in Hyderabad’s Govt offices, and brazenly rigged tenders.

– However, recent decades saw some changes. Now they are all more sophisticated factions.      

Paritala Ravindra (1958-2005) TDP leader: IAS officer GS Vijaya Kumar, born dalit, who took voluntary retirement, entered politics, walked across 60 Assembly constituencies to study problems, but did not join any party. Narrating his experiences in service, he narrated in detail how some TDP leaders  prevented dalits from voting for a couple of decades. He mentioned TDP former Minister Paritala Ravindra, a rank factionalist of Anantapur district, who committed scores of murders and was himself murdered. Ravi’s gang would capture polling booths, and stamp all dalit votes, with pliant officers in his service. Vijaya Kumar narrated how he was the first officer who checked all that. His wife Sunita became a Minister, and his son is now their political successor. He was not an exception, more so in Rayalaseema, said some top IPS officers. 

– Former Home Minister and Speaker, Dr Kodela siva prasada Rao was projected as a gentleman, but was a factionalist, with several criminal cases including murders. Bombs were made in his home. He committed suicide in 2019 when TDP lost power. 

– There are many (white collar) criminals in TDP too as can be seen from the affidavits they filed before the EC.   

– While violent forms are replaced by sophisticated ways, and political casteism, occasionally they took violent shape. N example is social boycott of Malas (dalits) enforced  for weeks, in Garagaparru village in June-July 2017, under TDP. It was linked to a statue of Ambedkar.

– There were violent protests when a new one was named ‘Konaseema Ambedkar District’ by Jagan regime in 2022 May: The houses of a Minister (P. Viswaroop, a dalit) and one MLA (P. Satish kumar) of the ruling YSRCP party were set on fire by a 1000-strong (non-SC) mob that opposed the name (TDP and Janasena were behind the caste riot, the victims alleged.). Amalapuram has been a stronghold for dalit politics for over  seven decades.  

– On May 7 night, a residence in Nallajarla vilage (East Godavari dt) where Home Minister Taneti vanita, a dalit woman, was resting during election campaign, was attacked by a violent horde led by TDP candidate.     

In the chain of events related to and after karamchedu, NTR never acted in a way to gain people’s trust, nor against the landlord classes. The police in Karamchedu did not protect the victims, which showed complicity of the ruling party. For several days, the culprits were not even arrested. The culprits were close relatives of NTR, who went all out to save them. The incident was wrongly projected as a ‘clash between the two castes’. All this was in fact was a carnage by landlords and their henchmen.

Vangaveeti Ranga’s murder aggravated political casteism

Modi spoke of a mafia raj in AP. He was reading a script by Naidu, alleged YSRCP, which says the boot is on the other leg. 

This episode of Ranga’s murder in 1988 is now under active discussion in current polls. Modi spoke of “YSRCP’s mafia raj”, but people remember the TDP regime for all its crimes.  

The murder of Vangaveeti Ranga in Vijayawada on Christmas night by TDP goons (when he was in a fasting tent on some anti-Govt issues) in December 1988 was another dark chapter of NTR’s regime, and that was a beginning of NTR’s fall. CBN was the active executive of the murder. Now TDP allied with Pawan, a Kapu leader like Ranga, to woo the community. Modi’s road show in Vijayawada on May 8 had Ranga’s picture on placards.

Ranga was a small time factionist of Kapu caste, who was emerging as a leader, soon to be elected as Congress MLA. Instead of countering the then endemic rowdyism by fair and proper means, and promoting unity of Telugus, TDP encouraged the faction of Kammas, and organized the murder, which aggravated a big caste turmoil in the  ‘central coastal Andhra’ zone, spread over four districts.

Within three days of the murder, revenge, arson and counter-violence led to 42 deaths, hundreds injured, state-wide bandh, curfew for several days; and Rs. 100 cr worth property (in those days), including hundreds of vehicles, was damaged. The police, partisan, miserably failed. TDP leadership (Babu and NTR) initially winked at it, but ultimately it led to a political crisis : Two Kapu ministers (Mudragada, and Chegondi who narrated TDP role in his auto-biography) resigned blaming TDP and NTR acting with a pro-Kamma bias.Now both of the old politicians are active, though not as candidates. Mudragada joined the camp of YSRCP after years of inactivity.  

While accusing others (like former CM YSR and his faction) of being ‘rowdies’, rival murderous thugs have been given a major boost in the TDP itself, apart from white collar criminals. Paritala Ravi, a former fellow-traveler of Naxalites who was admitted into TDP, who was jailed for dozens of murders, was later made a minister. Civil rights leader, Prof. Seshaiah (who died in recent past) had said that 41 of Ravi’s opponents were killed in fake police encounters. He published relevant details. Such is the lega cy of factionalism allowed by NTR, and advanced by his successor CBN.

YSRCP is blamed to be police Raj: In fact India has a constitutional autocracy, we have shown. As a whole it is a Police-military state, with degrees of difference. Now TDP with the help of Centre, and EC, shifted top IAS and IPS officers to suit the NDA. That was done within hours of Amit shah visiting AP. It is coming in the way of delivery of welfare schemes going on for years.

NTR-TDP regimes were notorious for a police Raj, it may be recalled:   

Public memory is proverbially short, but misinformation by the media, overwhelmingly pro-TDP, is adding to the problem. 

Democratic Rights movement was sought to be suppressed by NTR-TDP regime, that killed a few leaders of civil liberties movement including Dr. Ramanatham. TDP regime organized 200 plus encounter killings of naxalites. TADA and Disturbed Areas Act were a regular feature, as also deployment of CRP and BSF for years together. Sec 144 in capital city went on for years without a break.  ESMA was invoked against govt employees. Horse-borne police were used against Anganwadi women. Lathi charges were made on blind students fighting for their rights. There were  deaths, in police lock-ups and police firings.   

( See for more on this ..

 Remembering NTR the politician in his centenary Year – Part 2 – His was an autocratic regime, and a Police State (13/06/2023)

https://countercurrents.org/2023/06/remembering-ntr-the-politician-in-his-centenary-year-part-2-his-was-an-autocratic-regime-and-a-police-state

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Modi-led BJP allied with NTR clan, and is variously playing caste card

It is like elsewhere, but more brazen presently, for ruling classes in AP politics. NTR was the first man to become the CM from the caste of Kammas, which has many notable, influential and prosperous names associated with that  community. Most of the CMs in AP were Reddys until NTR arrived on the scene, and after him too.

 And NTR’s name is sought to be used, particularly by a kamma-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP)  keeping that in mind. Kammas have significant business clout in neighboring TS/Hyderabad city, in USA, and a little in Karnataka and Tamilnadu too, and parties are keen on that.

Currently, BJP is keen on using kapu caste also, by allying with film star-politician Pawan Kalyan (PK), who founded, a decade ago, the Jana Sena Party (JSP), and made some mark having polled some 7 to 10 percent votes in various elections, including those of local bodies across AP. The kapu family, though a later entry after NTR, currently has a key role in Tollywood (Telugu filmdom), with huge money and seven heroes and producers, competing with that of NTR’s political, cinema and business successors. BJP is wooing Kapus, two of its succeeding AP presidents being from that, even while using NTR’s daughter. 

Having a kapu Pawan in its fold, BJP replaced State presidents, Somu Veer raju and Kanna Lakshminarayana, who were Kapus, with Purnadeswari, a Kamma, with several caste links. 

In Telangana too, Modi-led BJP desperately used all the above tricks, plus an anti-Muslim rhetoric, more brazenly than ever. It wooed multi-billionaires, from other parties, Eatala Rajender being just one example. Half of its candidates are imported,many only weeks or days before elections, denying seats to several seniors with its own ideology. It roped in feudal dynasties, for example, Konda Visweswara Reddy, a grandson of KV Ranga Reddy, first Deputy CM of Hyderabad state , and a nephew of M Chenna Reddy, former CM of undivided AP, who had nothing to do with BJP ideology. Another is Mrs DK Aruna, a former Congress Minister, daughter of a legislator, and married to a legislator, and related to other former legislators and Ministers. She is a turn-coat, now in BJP as its all India Vice president.       

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Tail piece

The Election Commission has been a pliant and tainted machinery, more so in Modi regime. EAS Sarma, former Secretary of Union Govt, exposed in a series of letters:

(see for eg: Election Commission’s assurance to conduct “One Nation, One Election” casts doubts about its independence.

https://countercurrents.org/2023/09/election-commissions-assurance-to-conduct-one-nation-one-election-casts-doubts-about-its-independence

The EC winks even as Modi and BJP brazenly exploit religion, god, and all primordial instincts, he wrote. The EC is playing an active role to favor NDA.

***                         ***

(Ramakrishnan is a political observer who contributed to countercurrents.org)

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