March 17
09:21 2018

“ Funny thing about revenge. It could make a killer out of a nun.”

Even as Chandrababu Naidu, the “Me the Saviour of AP” turned “Me the Victim of Modi’s political machinations”, pulled out of NDA coalition, an old video clip of Modi pulling Naidu by the hand and forcing him to sit on the special chair meant for him on the dais has been doing the rounds on social media for the last one week.
   That video depicted feel-good moment between CBN and Modi during the election campaign in 2014 and made the gathering feel that the two would champion their cause and were destined to change their ravaged fate.
     Four years later, it seemed never like that. It was all “Kammuka Vachchina Maya” (an engulfed illusion).
    The act of Modi pulling Naidu by the hand depicted in the old video now seemed as if he was pulling Naidu down out of his chair, or so it does going by the allegations of CBN.
        For laymen, it appears that CBN is a betrayed lover lamenting “Dilrubaa, maine tere pyaar mein kyaa kyaa naa kiyaa, dil diyaa dard liyaa”   (Heart-Stealer, what all did I commit in your Love, Ceded the Heart, Accepted the Pain).
  For those ordinary people of AP that line up to vote to choose their leaders, CBN’s decision to sever ties with Modi was because the government led by Modi was unwilling to accord special category status as promised and also it failed to fulfil all the worldly promises Modi made to the people of Andhra with CBN on his side.
  It may seem like that, but there is “more than what meets the eye”.
 Everything has its past, so does the uneasy relation between CBN and Modi.
To know where it all began, flashback to 2002, soon after the riots in Gujarat when Modi and Naidu were chief ministers.
  Following the riots, Naidu, despite being a key member of the NDA, publicly took an anti-Modi position.
 He called for Modi’s resignation stating that “the leadership in Gujarat has lost its moral authority to govern”, and he even held out a veiled threat to the Vajpayee government to pull out of it, if Modi was not asked made to step down.
  In giving such veiled threat CBN had his own calculation of playing a champion of Muslim cause and to project himself as a leader who called a “spade a spade”.
 While, CBN was trying to build himself an image of secular leader, Modi, reportedly, was not amused at a non-BJP chief minister interfering with whom BJP should choose as a chief minister.
 According to those in the know of things in the BJP and the TDP, Modi never forgot the insult.
  Like every dog has its time, BJP’s National executive at Goa backed Modi as its Prime Ministerial candidate in 2014, a period in which CBN was desperate to return to power.
       It was a period Modi’s stars were on ascent, while CBN’s were on descent.  
In 2013, however, after back channel confabulations resulted in a meeting between Naidu and Modi in New Delhi, a decision was taken to fight the elections together in the then united Andhra Pradesh.
The alliance with Modi and with Pawan Kalyan playing the cheer leader of the duo, helped CBN to wrest the power nearly after a decade of being on the side-lines.
The new found bonhomie with Modi was like a smooth sail in the first two years.
          The real twist in the relationship came in August 2017 when Venkaiah Naidu, the man who negotiated the CBN-Modi alliance, was asked to move from political theatre and was confined to the vice-president’s office.
     The presence of Venkaiah Naidu, the go-to man of Babu was always perceived to be an impediment for the growth of the BJP in AP.

  The unceremonial shunting of Venkaiah Naidu from political theatre to ceremonial post of VP diminished CBN’s clout in the New Delhi power corridors.
          On the other hand the panache of Babu and his aides to blow self-trumpets on how CBN could have become prime minister in 1996 if he so wished, trying to put him on a pedestal as high as Modi, also are some irritants that pinched the ego of Modi, who is still nursing the insult meted out him in 2002.
  A few months back, some of the TDP MPs, even, went a step further to drum beat a word in Delhi that their boss would be kingmaker in 2019.

 The egos of both the leaders began to pinchas the trust deficit between them grew, with the slugfest between both the parties even getting personal.
  If the BJP camp thought someone like CBN, who had overthrown his own father-in-law, could not be trusted, the TDP hit back by talking hush-hush about how Modi had treated his mentor LK Advani shabbily after becoming prime minister.
  The cracks deepened with Modi refusing to entertain CBN for an entire year in 2017. CBN felt Modi rubbed it in by giving time to Jagan in May that year.
  And the last nail in the coffin was driven by Pawan who levelled charges of corruption against Naidu’s son Nara Lokesh.

          CBN suspected that Pawan was acting as scripted by the BJP.

          The fallout between CBN and Modi is all the more stark because both are similar in many ways.
   They say enemies are best teachers, and both being “enemies in friends disguise”, learned every trick from each other.
      Modi has an opportunity as the PM, to politically weaken and marginalise Babu who snubbed him in 2002, while Babu being the CM of a state that suffered the injustice of bifurcation, fighting his battle from weak position.
          Though, Modi has his own scores and power to settle with CBN, it helps CBN to play a victim of his machinations.
  It would be very early to predict who would win this ego clash, while Modi appears to be enjoying the upper hand in making CBN to cry in vanquish in the AP Assembly and to wriggle in to come out of the quagmire he is pushed into.
  Modi has nothing to lose in AP, as he would have alternative to seek support from in the form of YSRCP or Jana Sena.
It’s CBN who has everything to lose as if he fails this time, may be it would be time to write an epitaph on his political career.
 Well, for now the politics in AP appears the trailer of “Avengers- Infinity War”
 Will CBN turn a Marvel kind superhero to win the Herculean Battle against Modi, the Thanos, who is all set to marginalise him.

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