In war and politics, offence is the best form of defence. But if both the sides use the same strategy? The high-voltage drama that unfolded in Andhra Pradesh after the attack on YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy seems to belong to this genre.

Both the TDP and the YSRC fought with each other like unyielding rams in a ring and the embers are still smouldering. No one knows if the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy was deliberate or an act intended to help the YSRCP leader to gain sympathy ahead of elections.

But the incident proved beyond all doubts, the despicable depths of depravity, to which both sides could descend, in attempting to take the sting out of each other’s argument. They exhausted all their lung power in trying to project the other as personification of evil. The war of words is still raging and looks like it will continue in future too.

Whether the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy was genuine or not, it has definitely galvanised both the sides into making high-octane insurrections into each other’s territories.

They, hitherto, were limited to making predicable rapier thrusts, a Pavlovian reflex action, to what the other side had said or was going to say. The incident also has made both the sides imagine things that would happen in the next few months which, is a new phase in electioneering for sure.

The most imaginative is undoubtedly the TDP and its comrade in arms – a small-time film actor Shivaji – who predicted what was going to happen to the TDP government in future.

Shivaji prophesied that “Operation Garuda” would be implemented to destabilise the State government by the Centre and one of the strategies would be to engineer an attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy in such a way that there would be no harm to his life but inflict an injury serious enough to evoke sympathy from the people.

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With the attack taking place on Jagan Mohan Reddy as he had predicted, even Chandrababu Naidu lent credibility to “Operation Garuda” which everyone had dismissed as hogwash when he first predicted it. In fact, during the same time when Shivaji made the prediction, Naidu was also expressing doubts over the intentions of the centre.

On more than one occasion, Naidu had said that the Centre was trying to use Jagan Mohan Reddy as its cat’s paw to foment trouble in the State and, using it as a pretext, would impose president’s rule ahead of the elections.

The attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy has now suddenly prompted Naidu to voice his concerns once again that the Centre was up to something big to take it out on him for stepping out of the NDA and mounting a frontal attack on it for not granting Special Category Status to AP or keeping the assurances made in the AP State Reorganisation Act.

In May, when a girl was raped in Dachepalle in Guntur district, triggering clashes between two groups, Naidu had felt that the violence was orchestrated with political motive at the instance of the BJP. He also had a similar view when rumours spread across the State that dacoit gangs from the North India were on the prowl in the State which had led to lynching of those who roused suspicion.

Now, when the YSRCP leaders began attacking the State government for security lapse at Visakhapatnam Airport which led to the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy, Naidu again expressed the same opinion and felt that something was really cooking in Delhi.

At a news conference on the day Jagan Mohan Reddy was attacked, he said that the sham attack had exposed the “treacherous” political game of the Centre which wanted creation of a major law and order problem and use it as a ruse to impose president’s rule.

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The YSRC dismissed as some kind of paranoia Naidu’s fears that something abominable was going to happen and that they were tending to believe that Naidu, in fact, wanted President’s rule imposed in the estate so that he could whip up a sympathy wave in his favour as people were now rallying behind Jagan Mohan Reddy and not him.

The YSRCP’s line of argument is that the TDP would engineer more attacks on Jagan Mohan Reddy with the sole intention of creation of disturbances so that Central rule would be imposed. This was exactly the reason why an attempt has been made at Jagan Mohan Reddy at Vizag airport and expressed suspicion that the TDP might be behind the attack.

Naidu, to strike the iron while it was still hot, rushed to Delhi to expose, before the national audience, the insidious designs of the Centre in the States where non-BJP parties are in power. He gave a blow-by-blow account of what had happened in Andhra Pradesh after the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy and felt that democracy was in its death throes now under BJP’s dispensation.

He wanted the regional parties to join hands to throw out the BJP lock, stock and barrel in the next elections. He explained how the BJP had let Andhra Pradesh down even though its economy remained belly-up after the division of the State with no infusion of financial succor from the Centre.

He met Opposition leaders In Delhi before addressing the media where he got a commitment from them to wage a united battle against the NDA. BSP supremo Mayavathi reportedly committed her support to Naidu’s ongoing crusade against the NDA and had even told him that she would not mind even if Naidu took the lead in cobbling a coalition with a common minimum programme. She even did not mind inclusion of the Congress in the new political formation.

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Now the YSRCP is also getting ready to put forth its line of argument before the national media – how dictatorial the TDP regime had become and the subtle and sometimes flagrant methods it uses to stymie the Opposition like engineering the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The leaders want to establish that the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy was genuine and that the TDP was saying that it was publicity stunt after the entire operation went sour.

But the question is whether the people would be so naïve to be carried away by the arguments of both the sides. After watching the no-holds-barred battle on the streets after the attack on Jagan Mohan Reddy, no one is impressed by either party.

The talk of disturbances, Operation Garuda and imposition of President’s rule may not cut ice with the people. In the same breath, YSRCP’s argument that Naidu was trying to create law order problem hoping that the BJP would impose Central rule is also equally untenable and rather farfetched.

Till now, political parties fought on policy failures of the other when it was in power. Now they are fighting over what the other may do in future to harm the State. This is a new trend to impress the voters and polarise them against their rivals. But this may not work since voters are several times smarter than they think. #KhabarLive