Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Political Disaster in Andhra

Playing the role of a hero in a movie is different from running a apolitical campaign. My hopes of Chiranjeevi actually making a difference in the political scene are ebbing by the day. I had hoped for good things from him not because I am a "fan", but because I wanted a third front to the caste dominated corrupt politics of Congress and TDP in Andhra.

Chiranjeevi's praja rajyam party seemed to provide that third secular front without any ties to castes. Chiranjeevi's political pitch concerning the downtrodden and their upliftment seemed like a good idea to win the election. However, Chiranjeevi has so far shown little or no leadership in terms of marshaling his resources. He still attracts major crowds - there is no doubt in that. However, based on some news reports it seems like he has no clue how to manage an organization. It is not enough to cheer up a crowd with promises. A political leader shoudl also know how to be a smart negotiator and an able judge of people.

Being a good judge is important because Chiranjeevi has a lot of well-wishers. But, being a well wisher does not mean they are going to be a sound advise giver. Politics are complicated and they need a lot of thinking and honestly I think Chiranjeevi has the charisma but lacks the intellectual horsepower to hold the campaign.

If Chiranjeevi has to make an impact as I believe he wants, he needs to get his act straight. The path is clear - hire sound managers, people who have experience running large teams to manage the campaign. Pay them well. Approach the whole thing in a sound systematic way and there will surely be success. Hire people with sound economic training and the street smarts who will hold the flanks from running amok. Managing the herd is important for Chiranjeevi - now that he has got the herd.

News media is terrible when it comes to Andhra politics.
Surprisingly, there is not much of independent news. The major vernacular newspaper Eenadu is biased towards a particular party and the English dailies fail to capture the nuances of regional politics. Moreover, Deccan is very Hyderabad centric and the other big papers just do not have a grasp about the regional dynamics in Andhra. Blogging is yet to have an impact on the Andhra political scene.

The public do not have access to good independent analysis of the agendas being put out by various political parties. The TV news channels are noisy and seek drama more than intelligent analysis of the issues.

As it is common in India, most parties do not say anything to the detail in their election agenda. Most of what they say remains as false promises.

Clearly, there is an opportunity for Chiranjeevi to get a sound message across the state. A clear simply crystallized message should get him to power or at least hold the balance of power. Getting thsi message is tough. He has what no one else has - a fresh start and the raw materials to start a new era. Something that does not coem by every election cycle. Additionally, he has the public's support, the charisma and the will to make a difference. I hope he has the smarts to pull it off.


Never Mind!! said...

"Chiranjeevi's praja rajyam party seemed to provide that third secular front without any ties to castes."

I disagree. The basic premise of launching a new party was to cater to the needs of the Kapu sangham, Chiranjeevi's caste. Inital negotiations of a possible alliance with BSP was also to portray praja rajyam party as an outlet the non-reddy, kamma and brahmin castes.

But yes, Chiranjeevi has the charisma to be an influential leader just like NTR. He does need people like Chandra babu and Devender Gowd. But I guess that will never happen. Or maybe it will.

Girish Mallapragada said...

I am not too sure about whether Chiranjeevi has a caste based agenda here. His appeal rests in the broader fan following that he has and he would be losing terribly if he is pitching to the Kapus which are a smaller group in Andhra. Yes, it would be easy for anyone to conclude that he might be Kapu-centric, but so far he has stayed away from this positioning.
Not being on the side of kamma, brahmin or reddy castes does not mean he is kapu friendly. I would actually give him some benefit of doubt here saying he is positioning himself as a champion of the neglected groups, rather than saying he is focused on Kapus. Look at how he has turned down the friendship of Dasari. Not that it gives any indication of his true intentions, but his entire political rise has been built on the story of his fans, not any particular caste.

Anonymous said...

"News media is terrible when it comes to Andhra politics."

don't come to any conclusions by taking news from news papers. as you said they are just JUNK.

people are smarter than media. definitely they will give right judgement in choosing 1) ysr or 2) cbn or 3) chiranjeevi

Girish Mallapragada said...

Yes, on the whole people are smart. However, even to choose between worse choices - ysr, cbn and chiru the average man needs some in-depth analysis of what political agendas mean to their life everyday.
Soem of schemes being floated are outright moronic and will lead to nothign but politicans and middlemen makign money.
The media has so far taken sides and provided very little inputs to the public's decision making process.