Political name-calling is nothing new, especially in Andhra Pradesh. But what we are witnessing in the state these days goes beyond the normally abusive and enters the realm of superstition and related mumbo-jumbo.
YSRCP supremo YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, for instance, often says TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu is a harbinger of bad luck. Specifically, that Naidu and Karuvu (drought) are “inseparable twins”.
In Naidu’s nine years as chief minister of the combined Andhra Pradesh, the state witnessed drought-like conditions in seven due to scanty rainfall.
The suicides by farmers in the state in the late 1990s and early 2000s had made national headlines, and the farm distress and Naidu’s fascination for the tech business contributed in no small measure to Congress leader YS Rajasekhar Reddy — YS Jagan’s father — sweeping to power in 2004.
In linking Naidu to drought, YSRCP leaders are now suggesting that his return to power will mark the return of drought, a scary thought in a largely agrarian state.
Naidu is now paying back in the same coin. He has started calling Jagan “iron leg”, something that brings bad luck. In all his well-attended road shows, Naidu stresses that the the state has been witnessing much upheaval since “iron leg” Jagan came to power in 2018. So much so that the state is on the verge of bankruptcy.
What took the cake though was when Naidu said it was because Jagan was such a bad omen that the state had to witness the Covid crisis!