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View PointRhetoric does not fetch votes

Rhetoric does not fetch votes

Published: 25th Sep 2021 12:58 am

Slander and rhetoric do not fetch votes, or even political brownie points for that matter. The sooner the opposition parties in Telangana realise this hard fact, the better it will be for them.

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Of late, particularly after the change of guard in the two so-called national parties – BJP and Congress – the political discourse in the State has sunk to abysmal depths. Intemperate language bordering on filth, scurrilous personal attacks, utter lack of conviction in what they say and totally failure in raising issues of public interest, if there are any, have been the hallmark of the present opposition leadership.

Both BJP State president Bandi Sanjay Kumar and State Congress chief A Revanth Reddy seem to have a lot in common as opposition leaders. Relatively young, and brash, both are out to prove a point, and the route they have chosen to do that is to attack, personal at that, the ruling TRS leadership. Gloves off, no holds barred, hitting below the belt, anything goes for them so long as they find sections of media swallowing their bait. Both Sanjay and Revanth also seem to face similar problems from within their respective parties – lack of support from the seniors and veterans who are only waiting on the sidelines to say “we told you so” when they are on the mat.

Failing Miserably

The biggest challenge before these two opposition leaders has been identifying public issues that would give them an opening to throw a punch against the government and the ruling party. And they have failed miserably on this front, not so much because of their incompetence but more on account of lack of such opportunities. The TRS government’s track record on performance in the past seven years leaves little scope for anyone to point a finger. Not many States, not even the more developed ones, can boast of the kind of achievements that the TRS government can list out, be it in agriculture, industry, IT, pharma, irrigation, not to speak of welfare initiatives like Aasara pensions, Dalit Bandhu, Rythu Bandhu, Rythu Bima…the list goes on.

It is against this background that recent political developments, if one can call them that, have completely exposed the chinks in the Congress and BJP armour.

Revanth Reddy, from the time he took over the mantle of Congress leadership in the State, was desperate to make a mark as a leader even as seniors and veterans, including his predecessor N Uttam Kumar Reddy, kept away from Gandhi Bhavan. Revanth Reddy, generally considered a rabble-rouser right from his TDP days, did what he is best at – foul-mouth the TRS government and the party leadership, including Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao and IT and Industries Minister KT Rama Rao, rake up controversies where there are none, and throw mud at them.

Uncouth Attempt

The most recent of the TPCC president’s uncouth attempt has been to malign Rama Rao by somehow seeking to link him with the 2017 drugs scandal. It boomeranged on him, and how! The court silenced Revanth Reddy after the Minister filed a defamation case and also sought an injunction order against the Congress leader from uttering such nonsense.

Revanth Reddy even went to the extent of launching a laughable ‘White Challenge’ exercise, ostensibly to ‘certify’ politicians and celebrities as ‘clean’ in public domain. Just a few days before this unsavoury episode, he had a run-in with his senior party leader and fellow Parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor, labeling him a donkey for patting Rama Rao on the back for the good work done by him in the IT sector. This antic of Revanth Reddy invited a backlash not only from various sections of society but also from his own party, and he ended up apologising to the Thiruvananthapuram MP.

What is ironical and almost comical is Revanth Reddy’s adoption of a high moral ground when he himself is an accused in the infamous ‘cash-for-vote’ scam in the pre-Statehood era.

Dangerous Trend

Coming to BJP’s Sanjay Kumar, it has been more or less a similar narrative, making wild and baseless allegations against the government and the TRS leadership. All through his ongoing ‘padayatra’ in the State, Sanjay has only been slandering the ruling party leadership without even once raising public issues. If anything, he has only been setting a dangerous trend when he assured the families of four persons lodged in jail for their alleged involvement in the Bhainsa communal riots that the four would be ‘given’ jobs once they are released and the families would be taken care of by the saffron party.

Interestingly, both Revanth Reddy and Sanjay Kumar, the loud-mouths that they are, also exposed their vulnerability when confronted with in their own lingo. Remember the mouthful that TRS MLA from Malkajgiri Mynampally Hanumantha Rao gave Sanjay after an Independence Day incident at Neredmet? The silence from Sanjay was telling. The same goes for Revanth Reddy who failed to respond to Labour Minister Ch Malla Reddy’s emotional outburst that included a typical street-level challenge following persistent attacks against the TRS leadership. Both Sanjay and Revanth Reddy were tamed, so to say, by TRS leaders who paid them back in their own coin.

Another common refrain of the two national parties and their leadership has been the so-called family rule in Telangana State. Yes, there is a Rama Rao, a Harish Rao and a Kavitha from the Kalvakuntla family in politics. But they are all there on their own political merit and strengths, and their performances in their respective fields speak volumes of their capabilities. And Revanth Reddy, least of all, has no moral authority to question this aspect, given the fact that his party has rarely been outside the influence of the Nehru-Gandhi clan. In fact, the dismal and pathetic situation that the Congress is in now, not just in Telangana but also across the country, is because of the party’s reluctance to let go of the dynastic rule even if the ‘family’ is clueless and directionless.

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