The word “Jail” has become the most frequently spoken word in Andhra Pradesh these days. Hardly a day goes by without someone referring to the new buzzword either in political debates or on social media platforms.
Strangely, the entire Andhra politics has become reduced to this four-letter word, particularly this month politicians and their supporters are quick to interpret every event in terms of jail. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and N Chandrababu Naidu’s silence on the IT raids at the premises of his former PS are also linked to jail in one way or the other by the rival groups.
Never in the recent past, has the word ‘ jail’ acquired this much of political significance. Ask any TDP leader or supporter and he would say without any hesitation that the Chief Minister will get a conviction in the CBI cases and will be sent to jail. Similarly, every YSR Congress leader claims that Naidu’s arrest is round the corner.
A week ago, a tweet posted by Pottluri Varaprasad, who was the YSRC candidate from Vijayawada Lok Sabha constituency, was grabbed and interpreted in such a way that YSRC circles were sure of Jagan’s imminent imprisonment. Varaprasad used the Twitter platform to express his wish to see a woman as the Chief Minister of the State, in the light of Supreme Court judgement on a permanent commission for women. This is linked to whispers doing the rounds that Jagan would appoint his wife Bharati as his successor if he were to go to jail in the CBI disproportionate assets (DA) cases.
About the same time, YSRC MLAs, MPs and party spokespersons were vehemently demanding the immediate arrest of the TDP chief and a CBI investigation into unearthing of Rs 2,000 crore unaccounted money by Income Tax department at his former personal secretary’s house. The oft- repeated refrain from YSRC leaders was that Naidu was worried about the chippakudu (Jail food served in an earthern bowl).
The clamour for Naidu’s arrest sprang from a press note released by IT department in mid-February which said its sleuths had conducted raids at the houses of close associates of a ‘prominent person’, including his ex-private secretary.
YSRC jumped with the joy and let loose the campaign for Naidu’s arrest as if it had got enough evidence for Naidu’s corruption, which the ruling party has not been able to produce even after nine months in power.
The theme of every press conference by YSRC leaders is the longing for a jail term for Naidu. It clearly shows the chronic impatience among the YSRC ranks to see Chandrababu Naidu as A1 because Jagan is A1 in many CBI cases.
YSRC Rajya Sabha member Vijayasai Reddy, a chain-tweeter, sets the tone for the party’s ‘Jail for Naidu’ campaign. TDP, which does not wish to lag behind, deploys its commandos to launch an equally fierce counter-campaign on “Jagan’s imminent conviction”.
In a provocative counter to YSRC’s campaign, TDP’s fiery spokesperson Panchumarthi Anuradha said a rat-race had begun in the YSR Congress for the post of the Chief Minister.”
“Minister Botsa Satyanarayana, MLA Roja, YS Bharathi, YS Sharmila, YS Vijayalakhsmi etc are vying for the post of CM as they are quite sure of Jagan’s imprisonment,” she said.