The twin citizens dwelling in Hyderabad and Secunderabad started going wet submersing in the snowfall of sops that are being showered in this winter. Recently, all the political parties woke up from their deep sleep and commenced their routine activity to lure people for yet another time, for Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (Baldia) elections.
The ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is considering the Baldia elections as prestigious one. It is formulating various schemes to convince the twin cities voters that TDP is the only efficient party in the state politics. The party that is giving vital and external support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the centre is making its think tanks do exercise on the strategies needed to clinch Hyderabad Mayor seat, associating with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The party that somehow, managed to remain as the main opposition in the state Assembly, is now attempting to spread its ‘hand’ on the city voters. Seemingly the infighting groups and coteries are slowly concentrating on joining hands together for the welfare of the party in this election. They are targeting at all the 100 divisions in the twin cities along with the Mayor and deputy mayor positions. Marching in the direction, the Congress units in the city are organising programmes to ‘know’ the problems of the citizens.
During these programmes, people were openly discussing that this would remain another “know and no” programme. After a long time, the leaders appear in front of the houses and enquire to ‘know’ the problems of the people. Later, once the election is over, there would be ‘no’ seeing of these leaders by the people.
A fact in the twin cities is that, the presence of Muslim community in the old city and several parts of new city, their vote would definitely make a difference. The minorities of the country, who are majority in the twin cities, have a good say in tumbling the results in anyone’s favour.
The Baldia elections are so important for the ruling Telugu Desam Party that it managed to bring down Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee to Hyderabad on December 2 for inaugurating the Valmiki – Ambedkar Aawas Yojana. Announcing a package called Musi Preservation Scheme that is estimated at Rs 295 crore, declaring Hyderabad as ‘finance district’ and laying a foundation for constructing Insurance Regularoty Authority (IRA) near Hi-Tec city formed part of Prime Minister’s visit to Hyderabad. At the same time Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced another package of Rs 850 crore for piping Krishna River water to Hyderabad for provision of additional safe drinking water to the citizens in the twin cities.
Hyderabad is already on the global map for manufacture of bulk drugs and medical care. Chandrababu is enterprising to transform Hyderabad as nation’s financial hub, which should be appreciated. Irrespective of the party in power, it is their duty for planning and executing all the required schemes for overall development of the state and the twin cities, rather capital city as key tourist spot, knowledge city and high end technically sound industrial location.
Though it had taken six long years for Chandrababu to get proper hold on the official machinery and the Telugu Desam Party after dethroning the TDP founder Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, to some extent his efforts to attract industrial investments into the state were fruitful. His government was successful in implementing some projects like widening the roads and construction of road over bridges to meet the augmenting vehicular traffic requirements, maintenance of parks and lakes.
Chandrababu’s crown is also feathered with ‘convincing’ the central government for instituting Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) breaking out all the neighbouring states’ stiff competition, setting up Bio-Technology Park, construction of Hi-Tec city to change the shape and module of Hyderabad as Cyberabad. The clean and green programme, planting trees started giving out results, which is evident with award of Hudco’s clean and green city award to Hyderabad.
It is also true that Telugu Desam governance is mostly for the welfare of richer classes than for middle and lower income groups. The policies implemented by the Desam government were effective in fetching results in conformity to the saying; there may be sick industries but not sick industrialists. The criticism also continues that almost all the polices promulgated by the Desam government were anti-worker, anti-people and anti-employee. There is no shift in standard of living for the people living miserably in the slums. There are no new avenues of employment, even after repeated promises from the rulers.
Forget about the creation of employment, losing jobs has become the trend of the day with illegal lockouts, closure of industries, voluntary retirement, and compulsory retirement schemes both in the public and private sectors, which are unfortunately not coming into the notice of the government.
With the entire loop holes and lacunae Chandrababu emerged successful in ‘attracting’ the national and international looks towards Andhra Pradesh. It is to be noted here that the people, excepting the fact of echoing statements and advertisements, could see nothing practical. The Chief Minister strongly believes that his regime had been developing the standards of living in the twin cities like that in heaven. Therefore, in the ensuing Baldia elections, BJP-TDP front would sweep for a thumping majority and sit in the rulers’ seat at the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad.
The speakers, to mention specifically Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union Minister of State Bandaru Dattatraya, stormed the audience’s ears stating that the capital city, Hyderabad is getting a sanction of heavenly sum of Rs 6,565 crore for development. Samshabad Airport estimated to be constructed at Rs 2,000 crore, Rs 1,200 crore for electricity distribution, a similar budgetary estimates for provision and improvement of safe drinking water also include in that heavenly sum.
People should not forget that if the central, state governments, private and international financial organisations together provide the funds “in time”, only then the projected projects would take off and at least reach the completion stage in coming “so many” years. Every day media carries one or the other statement delivered by Union Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation Bandaru Dattatraya, since long. Fortunately or unfortunately concrete development in any part of the twin cities is visible. No efforts were being advanced by an inch towards reopening the public sector organisation Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (IDPL) that was shut down years ago. The workers and employees are suffering like hell and some are resorting to the extreme steps, suicides.
Now if returned to the political arena, the front of BJP-TDP should first realise that minorities, downtrodden and dalits are racing away from those parties. This front understanding this should put some of their brains towards this angle and give a “U” turn to them. Initially, the state unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) desired to contest the Baldia election independently and made a statement. However, the central high command of the party pressurised to see a shift in stand. Now, as the line had changed, ‘negotiations’ are in progress for deputy mayor seat and large number of corporator locations to contest along with Rajahmundry or Tirupati Municipal Corporation Mayor seat to contest. If the situation is solved in a proper dealing, the front will be compelled to face stiff competition from Congress and Majlis parties.
Based on the political atmosphere, it cannot be predicted that seat sharing adjustments will go on smoothly. Definitely it is a prestige issue for the Chief Minister to have the TDP flag hoisted on Baldia Mayor’s seat. However, it would not be so easy for him if the main opposition Congress shakes hands with Lefts and Majlis. The new fuels added to the fire are new flags emerging from the old ones. Three of the flags can be considered to give a thought. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) founded by former deputy speaker from TDP, K Chandra Sekhar Rao, Telangana Saadhana Samithi (TSS) formed by Ala Narendra from BJP and Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), which was floated by the MIM rebels. All the parties definitely have in their minds that to what extent these spill overs harm their winning chances.
Congress as usual is hot with infighting. If it can emerge above this and join hands with some Muslim parties, they may not get a respectable figure to quote in the results. Henceforth, it is clear that every party is suffering setbacks with the ‘split groups’ and this election is not so easy for any party to cope up strongly.
The ruling TDP is contemplating for stepping into the election arena with promises relating to IT Hardware Park, Green Technologies Park, Zenome Wall project, housing complexes for poor, disbursement of tools through Deepam scheme, drinking water supply, slum improvements, sports complexes construction, medical assistance, road over bridges and multi-model rail transport system, solving common people’s plights and so on goes the list.
For bringing all these to the real view of the citizens, it needs thousands of crores. If consolidating the required funds is one factor, fulfilling the pre-poll promises after the elections. With the change in the outlook of the voters and turbulence in the political arena, it would be wise of the parties observe some restraint on their snowfalls of promises. The awareness among voters is increasing day after day gradually. If those people realise the bare facts and overview what happened earlier, they have the firearm to shoot straight.
Politicians and parties! Take Care!
By P. Damodar Prasad