(Dr Pullarao Pentapati*)
Our ruling politicians are like senior officers who keep their families in Hyderabad when they are transferred . Our ruling elite consists of Ministers, certain officers, lawyers and of course the contractors, hangers-on who make their living by getting things done .There are no scholars or artistes or writers in elite of Andhra Pradesh .The ruling elite is now camping in Vijayawada-Amravathi and doing what they do best : “ Selling favors and making plenty of money ‘.Every election in a democracy is critical because it might result in a change of government. Every Chief Minister and his government wants to continue in office permanently and hold power forever. In Andhra Pradesh, after the division in 2014, we find that we have the same political elite is ruling Andhra Pradesh. Earlier, they were living in Banjara-Jubillee Hills in Hyderabad . Now they travel from Banjara-Jubilee hills to Vijayawada during the week and return to Hyderabad during the weekend.
Left parties doing right thing ; Going for change
The Left parties in Andhra Pradesh have boldly struck an alliance with a new Party Jana Sena. The Left parties avoided tying up with the old political parties . This is a step for change in Andhra Pradesh.
The main aim of state government is to retain power, privileges and wealth generating corruption and ensuring political dynasties survive. To win elections, either you gave such good governance that people are ready to give you a second chance or you have to find ways to corrupt voters . In Andhra and Telengana have achieved all-India fame for corrupting voters in un-usual ways . Whether it is a Panchayat or MLAS or even the Graduates MLC seat , money is the only fuel.
The British parliament is the Mother of all parliaments as it has a centuries-old history. Even there, till 1832 , there were indirect elections to their parliament and the seats could be bought. They were openly called corrupt seats. Similarly, in India, first you makea fortune and then buy an MLA or MP seat. Parties will give you a seat if you can spend money.
Andhra Pradesh captured by a small political and business elite :
The people of Andhra Pradesh now live in a small state. They have been captured by a small elite ( belonging to all parties ) which has failed in governance . In India, the smaller the state, the more concentrated power is. Take the instance of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttranchal and Punjab. Governments change but there is no change of actors. One set replaces another .
In this scenario, we have the entry of PawanK alyan. The Left parties are supporting him and there is now an option for the people of Andhra Pradesh. There are 175 MLAs and 25 MPs in Andhra Pradesh belonging to all political parties . Nearly all the 200 will be given tickets by major parties. Then there will be another 200 opposing them .They will either be ex-MLAs or Ex- MPs or their families .There will be absolutely no change .That is why the Left Parties did a great service by supporting a new political party .
The people of Andhra Pradesh have actually no choice. You either vote for ‘ Humpty ‘ or Dumpty”. It is a sham democracy as the candidates are forced on the people. If you vote for “ NOTA” or None of the Above, then your vote goes waste. So Pavan Kalyan is now providing an alternative. But it should become a true alternative and not an alternative for politicians who do not get tickets in other parties.
There is a clear choice in the form of Pavan Kalyan which has emerged in Andhra Pradesh. Pavan Kalyan is now a target for the old elite of Andhra Pradesh. They have to bring him down or he will upset the arrangement of politicians . The great danger is that if there is no change in 2019, then Andhra Pradesh being a small state will become a colony of the elite.
Pavan Kalyan has to do is to avoid the mistakes of Chiranjeevi and all other charismatic leaders who enter politics . Pavan Kalyan should start a new style of politics . The established parties in Andhra Pradesh are going in for the same formula , full of ambitious politicians and billionaires. They are not easy to fight . The main foundation of their election-tactics is money and how to distribute money and win votes . The dominant castes will vote without money as they want to retain and monopolize power.
So to meet his challenge, Pavan Kalyan needs to adopt a new path to derail the major parties and either win or stop the victory of all other parties. If Pavan Kalyan can stop the victory of other parties , then he has won.
The task is really not difficult as people are fed up and being a small state , all actions of politicians are under a microscope.
The established parties have the same old weapons of money, muscle ,patronage and media. If Pavan Kalyan tries to fight them with the same weapons, he will not succeed . The cause of failures of Chiranjeevi can be a very good start to learn new tactics.
People are very angry with the present government in Andhra Pradesh. The present government is making any effort o shift the blame of its failures on other reasons. That itself shows the government is worried . The government will resort to the British policy of“ Divide and Rule ‘ also failed.
There are enough lessons in political history to guide Pavan Kalyan to avoid mistakes and strike a new path to bring about change.
The Left parties have done the right thing by teaming up with a new Jana Sena. If you want change, you can’t support the same old people occupying offices for 40- 50 years. The old regime must be pushed out. As Barack Obama said :” You can’t do things the same way and expect a different outcome “.
*Dr. Pullarao is a New Delhi based economist and political commentator