A Year of Jagan - Going the Hugo Chavez way?

    27-May-2020
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In his hurry to score political points Jagan as CM is announcing schemes and issuing GOs which are either questioned or struck down by the High Court.
 - Duggaraju Srinivasa Rao 

AP Jagan one Year_2  
 
Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (Jagan) the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has completed on year in office. Positive point of his one-year rule is the implementation of the promised social welfare schemes. The negative issues are many and that includes the neglect of development of State. Major flaw is his political attitude of treating opposition leaders as ‘enemies’ and not as political adversaries. In his persistent political fight mode, Jagan finds no time for the economy of the state which resulted in borrowing of over 60,000 crores in one year his rule and thus increasing the debt burden of the revenue starved Andhra Pradesh to over 3 lakh crores.
 
The beneficiaries of Jagan’s massive welfare projects are happy as of now and may form solid vote bank for him. But the middle class are worried about the future of their state and the intellectuals who fear the current situation has started derisively comparing Jagan to that of Hugo Chavez on his overspending on freebies.
 
A year ago, Jagan’s cause was helped to certain extent by the political mistakes of Chandrababu Naidu, such as pushing his son as successor, picking BJP and Modi as enemy number one and hugging Congress, sailing in Rahul Gandhi as PM camp and unnecessarily encouraging the political defections. Fed up with the antics of TDP and Jagan’s promise of freebies voters of the state, who were waiting to bring a change, saw the YSR Congress Party as an alternative.
 
Jagan from day one started with personalized, vindictive politics with an eye on 2024 elections chanting the slogan of “me as CM of the state for next two decades” coupled with “demolish TDP and Chandrababu Naidu and harass BJP and its state level leaders with unsubstantiated allegations”.
 
Unmindful of the availability of the resources jagan administration is going ahead with the welfare schemes. All of them may not be new and some of them are funded by the Modi government but the vigor with which they are implemented without missing any section of the society is the USP of Jagan. None can raise their voice of opposition for freebies for the fear ‘anti poor’ label likely to be sticker by Jagan. On his part Jagan is going ahead unmindful of the deficit budget, treating his freebies as steppingstones for his second time CM throne.
 
Every section of the society at every stage of their life is now given a benefit and that includes Health and Education. To the existing free books, school uniforms and midday meal Jagan added cash incentive of Rs 15,000 for mothers who send their wards to schools. For the students of higher classes, the ‘fee reimbursement scheme’ is already in place. That was the scheme where government will bear the burden of college fee all the economically backward students. While students are qualifying using that support the AP government is not able to provide jobs to them. To tackle the backlash from the youth ‘the unemployment dole’ scheme for all ages is offered and age for recruitment of jobs in government have been raised to 45. But no concrete efforts in place for the job creation in the state.
 
Health care scheme is in place where the government pays the medical bills of poor. Housing sites for poor are earmarked, housing construction for the homeless is taken up. Rations are given free. Old age and widow pensions are rolled out. Farmers are given cash intensives for making agriculture sustainment. Jagan proclaims that under his stewardship AP is number one welfare state. 
The question is also about “welfare at what cost?”. Where from the money is coming? Is throwing the state in deep debt to win next election acceptable?
 
AP Jagan one Year_1 
 
 
But the question is “welfare at what cost?”. Where from the money is coming? Is throwing the state in deep debt to win next election is acceptable? Who are the real beneficiaries of these freebies? What happened to Venezuela when freebies overran the once strong economy? These are the questions which are now discussed in the state.
 
In his hurry to score political points Jagan as CM is announcing schemes and issuing GOs which are either questioned or struck down by the High Court. His government now holds the record of more than 50 censures from High Court in its 52-week rule. Notable being Jagan government’s insistence to have his party flag colors to the government buildings, stoppage of his pet idea of having three capitals for the state, his penchant for replacing Telugu with English as medium of instruction at the primary education level are struck down by the court as unconstitutional. His order reserving 70% jobs for locals was struck down.
 
His idea of having three capitals to the state is kept in abeyance by the Court. Jagan is not realizing the limitations of the democratically elected CM who can’t rule on his whims and fancies but should adhere to the Constitution and work in tune with court decisions, established precedence. His penchant to throw away any officer who sticks to rules and run the administration through sycophants is established fact. Now he extended his clashes to the constitutional bodies such as state Election Commissioner (SEC) and State Public Service Commission (APPSC). The SEC is removed through an ordinance which is now under judicial review and the Chairman of APPSC is forced to approach High Court to protect himself from the political pressure administrative harassment.
 
Jagan’s trait is his intolerance to criticism even when done with good intention. As his followers egged on Jagan bent on foisting cases on journalists and social media activists. The treatment given by the police to a government civil surgeon for publicly stating that Jagan’s administration is not giving quality masks during Covid time is seriously taken by High Court ‘Suo moto’ and ordered for CBI investigation “as the court refuses to believe government report”. Aged lady is booked for the opinion she expressed on the handling of styrene gas leak.
 
The anniversary day is the time not only for celebration but also time for self-review. The Chief Minister of AP needs that review immediately as the people on the street has already started their own review. Before peoples’ review turns negative on a large scale, Jagan is advised to try to change his vindictive political attitude, personalized decision making and start focusing on development of the A.P. rather than his own political constituency.