The politics is an instrument to get gain or loose fame. Now, the unseemly row over the implementation of the Pay Revision Commission recommendations for lakhs of government employees in Andhra Pradesh has ended, though with a negative fallout.

The whole thing has given political mileage to Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, without there being any significant steps on the part of the government, and the unions losing their credibility for virtually capitulating to the administration.At the end of the day, the politician in the Chief Minister had the last laugh.

It all began with a massive protest by teachers amidst strict enforcement of law and order. Finally, it ended up in commotion and confusion among countless employees as a result of the ‘non-committal’ attitudes of leaders of the struggle committees for implementation of the PRC recommendations made by Ashutosh Mishra. The state government had deftly played hide and seek game with the struggle committee leaders.

Employees were in utter confusion over what had transpired during the infamous talks with the state government comprising group of ministers and the government’s advisor, presumably acting under the guidance of Jagan.

The state government appeared to be on the defensive due to massive protests organized by teachers in Vijayawada on 4th of February. The way teachers assembled at the venue of the protest, wending their way from various parts of the state, was impressive indeed.

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They had to outwit the police personnel by concealing their individual identities, pretending to be patients, farm labour et al. They cried foul over the state government’s specific words on the probable additional financial burden on the exchequer, should PRC recommendations be implemented.

They questioned the state government as to how it could deposit more than rupees one lakh crore into the bank accounts of lakhs of beneficiaries of welfare schemes across the state.

Following the Vijayawada rally, the state government appeared determined to crack down on teachers’ protests and people thought there could be a confrontation with other employees as well.

For employees who think that it is their right to get fat salaries generously fixed by periodically appointed commissions on pay revision, there was heartburn when they compared their situation with that of their counterparts in Telangana, where the state government chose to implement PRC recommendations by almost doubling the fitment. Of course, the AP government cited considerable dip in its revenues due to Covid-19 as the reason for its reluctance to implement PRC recommendations fully.

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Noticeably, the situation with regard to Covid situation was graver in Telangana than in Andhra Pradesh. Yet, AP employees pointed out, in TS fitment agreed was almost double the amount proposed. They drove home the point that for the first time fitment is less than IR in AP.

The Jagan government is smug about its welfare largesse. When it comes to salaries, the projected hike is hardly anything for employees. Amidst all this, the government employees’ unions have lost their credibility as they are seen as having yielded to mind games played by the state government.

The Group of Ministers and the government’s advisor, thanks to the guidance of Jagan, succeeded in watering down the principal demands of the employees and leaving the unions in disarray.  Jagan tactfully avoided confrontation with the employees, unlike Kasu Brahmananda Reddy and N.T. Rama Rao during their tenures in erstwhile combined state of AP.

Employees in AP are sore that their ‘leaders’ had called off the strike without getting even one demand fulfilled. They will have to get by with only 23% fitment till the next PRC reviews the situation. Leaders of government employees, when they are in service, appear ferocious in nature.

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They change once they start associating themselves with politicians of ruling parties. They then deliberately act in favour of the government to switch to sinecures in the post-retirement period. For example AP NGOs’ leader P. Ashok Babu was in the limelight during the bifurcation days.

He stood for the cause of integration of AP and led protests even in Delhi during those days. Post bifurcation he played into the hands of the Chandrababu Naidu regime and became MLC of TDP after his retirement. People will now keep an eye on the career progression of the present leaders of the struggle committee of PRC upon retirement.

Given significant advantage to the state government at present, Jagan must redraw his strategies for dealing with government employees whose opinion is against him today. He needs to keep in view the role played by employees to unseat Chandrababu Naidu in the 2004 elections. A good politician is one who draws lessons even from another’s experience, particularly an archrival. #KhabarLive #hydnews