Tag Archives: andhra pradesh
Exit Chandrababu Naidu
By George Monbiot 19 May, 2004
Tony Blair has lost the election. It’s true he wasn’t standing, but we won’t split hairs. His policies have just been put to the test by an electorate blessed with a viable opposition, and crushed. In throwing him out of their lives, the voters of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh may have destroyed the world’s most dangerous economic experiment. Chandrababu Naidu, the state’s chief minister, was the west’s favourite Indian. Tony Blair and Bill Clinton both visited him in Hyderabad, the state capital. Time magazine named him south Asian of the year; the governor of Illinois created a Naidu day in his honour; and the British government and the World Bank flooded his state with money. They loved him because he did what he was told.Naidu realised that to sustain power he must surrender it. He knew that as long as he gave the global powers what they wanted, he would get the money and stature that count for so much in Indian politics. So instead of devising his own programme, he handed the job to the US consultancy McKinsey.McKinsey’s scheme, Vision 2020, is one of those documents whose summary says one thing and whose contents quite another. It begins, for example, by insisting that education and healthcare must be made available to everyone. Only later do you discover that the state’s hospitals and universities are to be privatised and funded by “user charges”. It extols small businesses but, way beyond the point at which most people stop reading, reveals that it intends to “eliminate” the laws that defend them, and replace small investors, who “lack motivation”, with “large corporations”. It claims it will “generate employment” in the countryside, and goes on to insist that more than 20 million people should be thrown off the land.Put all these – and the other proposals for privatisation, deregulation and the shrinking of the state – together, and you see that McKinsey has unwittingly developed a blueprint for mass starvation. You dispossess 20 million farmers just as the state is reducing the number of its employees and foreign corporations are “rationalising” the rest of the workforce, and you end up with millions without work or state support. “The state’s people,” McKinsey warns, “will need to be enlightened about the benefits of change.”McKinsey’s vision was not confined to Naidu’s government. Once he had implemented these policies, Andhra Pradesh “should seize opportunities to lead other states in such reform, becoming, in the process, the benchmark state”. Foreign donors would pay for the experiment, then seek to persuade other parts of the developing world to follow Naidu’s example.There is something familiar about all this, and McKinsey has been kind enough to jog our memories. Vision 2020 contains 11 glowing references to Chile’s experiment in the 1980s. General Pinochet handed the economic management of his country to a group of neoliberal economists known as the Chicago Boys. They privatised social provision, tore up laws protecting workers and the environment, and left the economy to multinational companies. The result was a bonanza for big business, and a staggering growth in debt, unemployment, homelessness and malnutrition. The plan was funded by the US in the hope that it could be rolled out around the world.Pinochet’s economic understudy was bankrolled by Britain. In July 2001 Clare Short, then secretary of state for international development, finally admitted to parliament that, despite numerous official denials, Britain was funding Vision 2020. Blair’s government has financed the state’s economic reform programme, its privatisation of the power sector and its “centre for good governance” (which means as little governance as possible). Our taxes also fund the “implementation secretariat” for its privatisation programme. The secretariat is run, at Britain’s insistence, by the Adam Smith Institute, a far-right business lobby group. The money for all this comes out of Britain’s foreign aid budget.It is not hard to see why Blair’s government is doing this. As Stephen Byers revealed when secretary of state for trade and industry, “the UK government has designated India as one of the UK’s 15 campaign markets”. The campaign is to expand opportunities for British capital. The people of Andhra Pradesh know what this means: they call it “the return of the East India Company”.This isn’t the only aspect of British history being repeated in Andhra Pradesh. There’s something uncanny about the way in which the scandals that surrounded Blair during his first term in office are recurring there. Bernie Ecclestone, the formula one boss who gave Labour £1m and whose sport later received an exemption from the ban on tobacco advertising, was negotiating with Naidu to bring his sport to Hyderabad. I have been shown the leaked minutes of a state cabinet meeting on January 10. McKinsey, they reveal, instructed the cabinet that Hyderabad should be a “world-class futuristic city with formula one as a core component”. To make it viable, however, there would be a “state support requirement of Rs400-600 crs” (4bn-6bn rupees). This means a state subsidy for formula one of £50m-£75m a year. It is worth noting that in Andhra Pradesh thousands now die of malnutrition-related diseases because Naidu had previously cut the food subsidy.Then the minutes become even more interesting. Ecclestone’s formula one, they noted, should be exempted from the Indian ban on tobacco advertising. Naidu had already “addressed the PM as well as the health minister in this regard”, and was hoping to enact “legislation creating an exemption to the act”.The Hinduja brothers, the businessmen facing criminal charges in India who were given British passports after Peter Mandelson intervened on their behalf, have also been sniffing round Vision 2020. Another set of leaked minutes shows that in 1999 their representatives held a secret meeting in London with the Indian attorney general and the British export credit guarantee department, to help them get the backing required to build a power station under Naidu’s privatisation programme. When the attorney general began lobbying the Indian government on their behalf, this caused another Hinduja scandal.The results of the programme we have been funding are plain to see. During the hungry season, hundreds of thousands of people in Andhra Pradesh are now kept alive on gruel supplied by charities. Last year, hundreds of chil dren died in an encephalitis outbreak because of the shortage of state-run hospitals. The state government’s own figures suggest that 77% of the population have fallen below the poverty line. The measurement criteria are not consistent, but this appears to be a massive rise. In 1993 there was one bus a week taking migrant workers from a depot in Andhra Pradesh to Mumbai. Today there are 34. The dispossessed must reduce themselves to the transplanted coolies of Blair’s new empire.Luckily, democracy still functions in India. In 1999, Naidu’s party won 29 seats, leaving Congress with five. Last week those results were precisely reversed. We can’t yet vote Blair out of office in Britain, but in Andhra Pradesh they have done the job on our behalf.
Flag could be very close to the one showed in tv9. There might be changes in the center where the pet schemes appear. More updates to follow.
Launch on track. No change in schedule. Its a family affair. No code will stop it.
Going to court on the premise that its a private premises and nobody is invited.
There was a recent survey on political leanings in Andhra Pradesh by Nielsen for NTV, a popular Telugu TV channel. The previous Nielsen NTV surveys had been spot on every time as of now. These recent survey results are aligned with observations of lot of political experts in the state, but there would be some exceptions as the yellow media, who has been wrong on every single survey that they conducted for the past several years. Most of the time, they cook these surveys in NTR Bhavan or in the bomb-proof building that someone built on the occupied lands of Hayatnagar. But, as have been seen in their past behaviors, the yellow media went mum on the survey, Chandra Babu and other TDP leaders alleged that this was a paid survey – their usual reactions. This knee jerk reaction was expected from the yellow cadre/media. How else do they react when their worst fears of not coming back to power even the third successive time, when for a regional party like TDP, it’s a death knell? TDP vote share of 18%, massive losses in both Seemanadhra and Telangana have made them realize their worst fears. Their confusing two eye, four tongue, sixteen lie policy on vital issues of the state is not working out and Chandra Babu’s inhuman, cruel vendetta on a leader that died in the line of duty even after 17 months is making people sick and his party is losing a lot of ground is obvious. PRP at 5% (not 16%) before merger with Congress and only 40% of his remaining followers going on with his merger is seen as confirming a majority opinion of political pundits. The surprising thing is the Congress strength as most are of the opinion that it’s at less than 10% and not 16% the survey came up with. This may be because of the fact that most of the Congress MLAs, who are somewhat strong in their respective constituencies still with the party. But, their vote share will wither away with the MLAs and MPs start leaving and joining Jagan in the coming days. The merger with PRP might put Congress vote share at about 10%. The PRP merger also would be in trouble, as some of its MLAs would want to join Jagan now with the survey after survey predicting that Jagan is da man. All in all, Jagan would be strengthened in the coming days and weeks. All he has to do is to be as cautious as possible in the path he is traveling and the people who he is associating with. Jagan’s new party at 35% must be a little less than the actual vote share, as his latent Telangana support was not accounted for properly.
These survey results, though very good for a party that is not even formed yet, could be skewed a bit.
1. PRP merger will help Congress a little bit in Seemanadhra and none in Telangana, not much to change each other’s fate, which is downfall.
2. Most poll pundits are inclined to believe that Jagan’s party would do much better in Telangana than what the survey says, for a simple reason that the people who aspire for united Andhra Pradesh would now vote en mass for Jagan, as they would believe that it’s only Jagan that could keep the state together. This survey should give him a boost in at least 35 assembly constituencies in and around Hyderabad, parts of Nalgonda, Medak, Mahaboob Nagar and Khammam. There is a good chance that his party can secure over 180 seats in the Assembly and as many as 28 MP seats. These MP seats should be enough for the new party to demand whoever comes to form the central government for important portfolios like Agriculture, Railways, Irrigation to help the state advance.
3. People accepted Jagan as not only the legitimate heir of YSR legacy, but also as a leader that can fight for him as well as for the state. This is very important facet of the survey. It has been a very rough ride for the young man ever since his father died. The hardcore followers of YSR could not become normal as of today, and one wonders how the situation of his own son would be. He went through a lot of sad, painful days with loss of his father and back stabbing by some of the closest to him. The people’s trust in his leadership should make him one happy camper right now.
4. The timing of the survey is great too, with party launch in the next month and the Kadapa by-elections coming up next, this survey would force the hands of lot of people to support Jagan. The majority projection of his camp in Pulivendla and Kadapa seats would have increased by several folds overnight. The local leaders, who have been fence sitting and leaning towards YSV/Congress now will have to think of voting against the future CM of the state and also realize that the short term gains they are expecting from the present government may never come true as this government would mostly not last long. At least 50-60 MLAs should be coming out openly and support Jagan, there by the imminent collapse of KKR government and leading to President rule. People who wanted to see the tangible results from the crowds YSJ has been attracting can now see them and MPs, MLAs and local leadership have to make their choices and do them quick. The scales have just tipped.
5. At this juncture and going forward Jagan should highlight the Telugu pride. He should be able to convince people that we are all Telugus first and anything else is next. He should emphasize the Telugu pride getting trampled in Delhi streets and under the feet of Italians and northerners who cannot win in their own seats and states. Coming to choosing local leadership of his party, he needs to understand that leaders are born from the masses. The sitting MLAs/MPs might be as much a subtraction as an addition. Now, with this Nielsen NTV survey on his table, Jagan should be able to call the shots and choose his people. He can either entice someone to come to him or not entertain someone who wants to come to him. The choice would be his. There is a feeling that he knows what he has to do all along. One could see that in his eyes. Even in the darkest hours he faced in the past 17 months, he was strong and never ever lost his faith. He knew what exactly he has to do and he is doing it brick by brick and never over planning at all. For people who have been worried about his fate, things were/are under control. YS Jaganmohan Reddy is here to play this game at his pace and the way he wants to play.
All in all, this survey reflects that there is a sweep going on for Jagan in Seemandhra and KCR in Tealngana. And the most important thing one needs to notice is that this present trend should be the same in one year, to years or more as the Congress government would be losing people’ faith and Chandra Babu going after the mirages. Funny but true is that the true boons to YS Jagan are Congress party and Chandra Babu, who never have their act right. Chandra Babu and Sonia Gandhi are relegated to side roles in our state – Sonia Gandhi for the irresponsible handling of our state, YSR and YSJ and Chandra Babu for vision less leadership he always displayed through out his career. As these two try harder to suppress and malign YSR/YSJ images, they lose more and more. YSR and YSJ are like rubber balls, the harder we throw them against the wall, the harder they come back to smack us! People are not fools and they know what’s right and what’s wrong. The credibility and power of YSR and YSJ have been certified too by this survey. A picture says thousand words and if you look at the people faces and show of their affection towards YSJ, it tells you the amazing transfer of their love from YSR to YSJ.
This survey is a game changer for Jagan as well as for the state. The exodus from Congress, TDP that had been talked about will start now. There will be bigger lines at Jagan’s Banjara Hills home. The fence sitting Congress MLAs would raise their voice in support of Jagan now and would have to be in his corner to have any political future. KKR government’s days are numbered and there would be President rule by this summer and elections by the year-end. This NTV survey is God sent for Jagan as well as the state. This will give him the impetus to create the political tsunami that Jagan has declared that he would. And, for yellow media and TDP supporters that want to ridicule this Nielsen survey, a simple challenge should be “Are you ready for bringing down the KKR Congress government that lost both legislative and popular support by proposing no-confidence motion and there by going for the elections?”.
Gurava Reddy for CelebrateYSR.org