Irrespective of their ideologies, commitments and hues, all the political parties seem to be joining voices, if not forces, in raising the Special Status for AP demand. However, a closer look tells us that each one is trying to avoid the odium and seeking to paint the rivals as villains.

That is the tragedy called Andhra Pradesh. The residual State of Andhra Pradesh is bleeding in the absence of real development. Its Capital is not even on the horizon. Polavaram Project is nowhere near completion. Revenue deficit is looming large over the State. There is little chance of the State celebrating its own Railway Zone. Several other developmental parameters are yet to fall in place.

This being an election year, every party has its own compulsions in every State and the BJP leadership cannot submit to their blackmail. Special Status will not be conferred on any State as it leads to similar demands from the others. Why has Chandrababu Naidu launched this game of brinkmanship now? What is up to the delusional politics?

Naidu bafflingly blames the Centre as he seeks to consolidate his position now because he himself had accepted a Special Package in lieu of the Status till the other day. Secondly, he cites his “futile 29 visits to New Delhi” to buttress his argument. Naidu had always described these visits as “most fruitful” in all his media interactions during those visits. Back home he never lost any opportunity to give a tumultuous welcome to the then Union Minister, M Venkaiah Naidu, hailing him for his stellar role in getting goodies for the State.

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Special Category Status was never a ‘Sanjeevani’ (for his party?) for him and “only fund flow matters”. The Centre kept reiterating that Status could not be accorded and Naidu kept defending the Centre preferring the alternate funding system since 2014.

Coming to the crux, Naidu had actively pursued three issues with the Centre all the while. The foremost amongst these was about handing over the execution of the Polavaram Project works to the State and succeeded in it.

The second key demand was about the Special Package and he got one only to remain silent on the constitution of the Special Purpose Vehicle for NABARD loans for externally-aided projects. Alternative route of funding up to 90 per cent of all the Centrally-sponsored schemes was okay with him. He has not explained to the people the reason for the reluctance to constitute SPV.

The third was about the delimitation of the Assembly segments. Centres’ reluctance pushed him to a wall as he had recklessly lured YSRCP MLAs and needs to accommodate everyone the next time. As recently as January 1, Naidu explained the prosperity awaiting the State in his letter (to the people) that is self-explanatory: “AP is a happening state. Our state has attracted the world’s attention, and any countries are showing interest in working with us. The whole world is waiting for Amaravati.”

For him 2014-18 was not the betrayal period. He had described the period 2004-2014 as a decade of betrayal. With the division of the state, “We have lost so much, we were forcefully thrown into a deep crisis. But the state looked for opportunities in the crisis and is using it to build a world class capital city,” he wrote.

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Such being the case, it is clear that political challenges back home forced Naidu to part company with the BJP. But, what makes Naidu presume that voters would believe in his conspiracy theory to which he with which he wants to beat the entire Opposition?

Forced by the complex home realities to severe his ties with the BJP, Naidu seeks to encash on the Status sentiment. So he brings it back to the table as the only panacea and conjures up images of the YSRCP and the Jana Sena joining hands with the BJP.

One of the most laughable suggestions of Naidu & Co to establish the BJP-YSRCP tie-up is this: Vijaysai Reddy was seen in the PMO by a journalist and he ducked behind a sofa set to hide. Later he ran out of the backdoor.

Anyone who has even a minimal knowledge of the PMO would know that journalists are not allowed into it without an invite and no one could run out of the backdoor as it is the entry and exit point of the Prime Minister himself and only he could use it. Naidu need not be a laughing stock in his political sojourn and should avoid such pitfalls. Nevertheless, Naidu banks on his media allies to convince the voters.

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This is the make or mar moment for Naidu. His moment of glory is when he places his son in the driving seat while he transitions to the national level. To ensure it, he brings the Tamil Nadu example too into play setting aside the fact that the crisis in TN is essentially due to the split in the ruling party.

One man’s opportunism is another’s statesmanship. There is a delicate balance between the two. The dividends depend upon how the voters read it in democracy. The present political situation in AP meets the description supplied by Shah: “Smirched with compromise, rotted with opportunism, mildewed by expedience, stretched out of shape with wire pulling and putrefied with permeation”.

Naidu had promised an El Dorado to the people in his “Sun Shine State”. As he had failed in preparing the road map to it, he abandoned the BJP just to increase his political power and influence. Will the Opposition match his manoeuverability skills? Naidu is adept at riding the wave of adversity admirably which is not the case with the others.

As for the voters, there is little choice for them except watching the melodrama that will be unfolding soon as all the players try to lend credible accuracy in the depiction of incredible and the extraordinary. Some fight it will be over a non-existent and a not-forthcoming Status! #KhabarLive