December 3, 2009 4 Comments
Andhra Pradesh is home to India’s movie factory known as ‘Tollywood’. It is perhaps the only movie industry in India where no Friday would ever go without a release. Movies are a firm part of the culture of Andhrities.
It must therefore come as no surprise that the politicians of the state have imbibed the histrionics of the movies for their political survival. Tamil nadu is the other state which comes very close where the movie magic is entwined with political success.
People like MGR, NTR have used histrionics to carve powerful political brands for themselves. MGR was known to the man with ‘red palms’ not a reflection of his colour but the charity work that he did. NTR was simply ‘Annaiah’ or elder brother to the state.
Last week, the state witnessed the latest entrant to this political drama, K Chandrasekhar Rao or better known as KCR who threatened to go on a fast unto death until his wish for Telengana state was granted.
Political theatrics have always remained the bedrock of Andhra politics ever since NTR came into picture. The man credited with the first ‘political hijack’ was his son-in-law N Chandrababu Naidu who famously shepherded his MLAs to the posh Viceroy hotel to prevent access to his opponents and the possibility of engineering a split. Since then, this technique has been used by several others including Karnataka’s Ex-CM Kumaraswamy when he staged a coup against his own father.
The firm grounding in political theatrics explains the success of someone like a Jayaprada who has struck it rich in the Hindi heartland of Uttar Pradesh. Her perfectly coordinated tear drops would move masses and get the votes.
KCR was out of political spotlight for a while due to the sudden demise of YSR followed by the jostling for Chief ministership. For any politician worth the salt being out of public memory is akin go being dead.
So what does KCR do ? Launch a fast-unto-death !
Now what is this brouhaha about Telengana ? It is the urban Andhra comprising mainly the Ranga Reddy district (Hyderabad is part of this) that KCR is clamoring for. He wants to carve this into a separate state leaving Andhra with just rural belt and coastal Andhra. So in one shot, he usurps all the development that Andhra has made since becoming a separate state. Smart move !
And by championing the cause of Telengana he would leave the other political parties in a dilemma. Especially political upstarts like Chiranjeevi who needs to broadbase his party now has to choose between focusing on rural or urban Andhra.
I have nothing in particular for or against the demand. I do think that smaller states are better for governance but we cannot take it to the extreme level of ‘unit holding’ of states.
Anyways that is not the crux of this note which is more about the political dramas. KCRs fast is just behind the most famous fast of all, the one that lasted roughly 4 hours between breakfast and lunch.
That famous fast belongs to the current TN Chief Minister.
KCR rode to power on the promise of Telengana and aligned with the Congress. He was even part of the UPA Ministry as Minister for Labour which suited him perfectly as he was the one ‘pregnant’ with the idea of Telengana.
With a confused Congress, it is a good time for KCR to reap his political harvest.
My wish is to see KCR match his theatrics with the master of Indian political theatre, Lalu Prasad Yadav.
I think, this may possibly be the exchange between them.
KCR : I want telengana, I want telegana
Lalu : Arrey, Telugu mein Ghana hai na…tho gao, kaun mana kar raha hai !!!!
India the charming land of political theatre !