Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is slowly gaining control of the situation. He has completed six months, a phase of turbulence indeed, in office. True, a period of six months is too long a time for any democratically elected government to get down to brass tacks.
The half-year long turbulence in governance and politics did create some doubts in the minds of the people about the motives of the government. But, finally, Jagan is able to silence his critics on many issues. But too much preoccupation with TDP and its leader Chandrababu Naidu has earned him the reputation as too vindictive. The need of the hour for Jagan is to transform himself from a reactive to a proactive man.
The embarrassing anomaly in Sand supply in the state that was responsible for unrest in the state for over two months has almost been resolved. Another potential source of discomfort was the issue of special status. Jagan could make people forget it. The other major victory he could bag was the reverse tendering, a new concept which has been proven beneficial to the cash-strapped state.
'Maa Badi' with a financial incentive and the introduction of English as a medium of instruction are two more essential milestones he has created in the past six months.
Another crucial decision that has turned the public opinion in the rural areas in favour of Jagan is the creation of 5 lakh jobs with his new initiative of Grama Sachivalayam. His insistence on the eradication of corruption is also worth the mention.
He has now to steer himself clear of the storm his decisions on capital Amaravati and Polavaram project created.
Now the government has taken another controversial decision to auction off all the government lands to mobilize funds for the spree of welfare measures he has announced. These lands available with various government departments are meant to meet the demands of future expansion. Any idea to dispose of these precious assets is not suitable for the state. This was opposed by the Supreme Court as well in Jagpal Singh & Ors vs State of Punjab & Ors in SLP(C) CC No. 19869/2010. Justice Markendey Katju' bench directed all the state governments to desist from auctioning these lands. This is expected to embarrass the government as the land mafia would try to corner these lands at cheaper rates if the government were to go ahead, ignoring the SC judgment.
Another retrograde step the YCP government took was the issuance of the GO meant to browbeat the media from writing against the government, which is an inalienable aspect of a free press.
Jagan assumed office on May 30, 2019, promising far-reaching political and governance changes. Though not advisable, he chose a path of conflict.
It is quite an unnatural for any young man, who is becoming the chief minister for the first time, to start innings with a such a heavy agenda loaded with politics.
Unmindful of the criticism, he embarked on the implementation of the two-pronged agenda from the first day itself. The political part of the agenda is to finish TDP, the party, led by Chandrababu Naidu, encouraged 21 YCP MLAs to cross the floor. The second aspect of the political agenda was Jagan's stand on the capital Amaravati.
The governance agenda is meant to bring about specific structural changes in the administration by introducing a new system of village secretariat and volunteers.
At the time of the selection of the location for the capital in 2014, the opposition party YSRC was given a Hobson's choice by the then ruling TDP. There was no discussion on the various options recommended by Sivaramkrishnan's report in the House. Chief Minister Naidu thought the ruling party had the right to impose its will on the opposition party in the House which had no option but to swallow it. The aspirations of people from the other regions, suggestions from experts were thrown to the winds. The choice of Amravati was thrust on the people from other areas. Like Amaravati, even the Polavaram had also been turned into a political project by the previous government.
The turbulence in the past six months is the result of Jagan's attempt to replace the old systems erected by the TDP government with new ones that bear his signature. Giving religious colour to the Jagan's aggressive moves is an inadequate response from ill-prepared opposition.