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Heroes, Politicians and People
Vasu Reddy from Chicago
The last couple of weeks have been quite dramatic and interesting in Telugu politics and movies. We the Telugu People have been speaking loud and clear with our actions literally and figuratively.
The people of our state have made a dramatic change in their perspective of what is needed verses what the politicians thought we needed. IT boom and global stature did not help our last government when it came to water and electricity. While the development of the state is obvious to the people outside of Andhra Pradesh, the people within the state did not think it merited giving the incumbent government another term. It was plain and simple that the hierarchy of needs demonstrated that basic needs needed to be met rather than a select group of professionals benefiting from the global IT boom. Our state’s new Chief is as publicly endearing and communicative as any of the global leaders. Dr. YSR has a portal that articulated his accomplishments, and made sure that it was available for all to see on the net if interested. I am almost sure that many of the people of AP living abroad did not see it or even heard of it, but it was there. I am sure it will be widely visited from now on.
Mr. Naidu was and I believe will continue to be a great manager of time and media. Much of his efforts greatly benefited the IT professionals even when they did not live in the state. Much of his building of the city of Hyderabad are clearly evident in the last 10 years of the city’s development with roads, buildings, technology, some greenery and many amenities of a major city. No Indian politician in the recent memory displayed as much confidence in dealing with money, loans, media, politics and his own party as Mr. Naidu did. He is to be commended for his work, broad technology vision and bringing global focus to Hyderabad. All people I know (may most people I know) supported his efforts to globalize Hyderabad. Just in the past few days people from abroad (specially the USA based Telugu folks) have been reading the reports on why YSR got the mandate that he did, and how a nation’s political scenario might change overnight.
Simple facts I think:
1. Listening to the people is always important when you want to manage them for five years. YSR has been listening too long and did really reach out to the people this time. Walking like Gandhi did long time ago in a place like India will always endear to the people. Touching someone will always makes you dear to them.
2. The IT guys probably did not care to vote, and most of them are outside of AP anyway. They benefited from Mr. Naidu’s global efforts, but could not vote for him. I bet that even the IT guys in Hyderabad did not go to the polls. Most of them were drinking coke, bisleri or beer to worry about water. Most of these guys are sitting in generated controlled a/c rooms to worry about power. So there is another major point why Mr. Naidu’s efforts to help IT did not really help him.
3. YSR is a good person from what I am told. Lots of folks I know, know him for a long time and say that one on one, he can be charming. While Mr. Naidu was helping our IT sector, YSR was really charming his real audience. Voters want to feel that their leaders are one of them and can reach out to them. If political observers remember, Mrs. Gandhi was very popular with the masses as she reached out to every one of the voters. Elitist leaders, while bringing prosperity to individual groups of people as Mr. Naidu did with the IT sector, seldom will have the opportunity to touch the common folks in a democracy.
4. What I may not be able to explain is the overwhelming majority YSR and Congress received. Even the days after the election pundits and common folks did not speculate the popular vote.
5. Change is probably good.
The rock star status Mr. Naidu enjoys will be still popular in the west and with business folks. IT folks need not worry as globalization of technology happened in the last century, and YSR is really a technocrat too. YSR has a portal. He is fit to walk thousands of miles in the heat of AP. YSR has touched more people than any other politician from AP, and has been listening. He is also witness to the people mandate that just removed Mr. Naidu and his party from power despite great public relations, media coverage and global support.
Our heroes also probably learned from this as many of them are reportedly worried about support from Congress to their movie careers. What utter irony in thinking? Do movie actors really equate public’s intelligence to quality entertainment to political party in power? Just as the IT folks are not there in the State to cast votes, political party’s have no influence on public’s movie going habits. Quality cinema will bring public to view the movies and not political parties. These heroes should also learn from this election, and learn that as the IT folks could not give Mr. Naidu the mandate, they do not have the power to elect the government of the state. Let me try this analysis:
1. We have too many heroes with their own support bases, and we only have two major leaders contending with their parties. So, there is a dilution of bases to clearly support one hero and one candidate. Just as there are multiple movies every week, we have multiple heroes with their own agendas. Heroes don’t need a political base; they need to make quality entertainment.
2. As the IT folks live in comforts afforded by Mr. Naidu’s government, our heroes really don’t know the need for basic needs. It is not possible for them to appreciate the needs or common man, as they cannot be living in reality. So there is no need to worry about equating to the needs of common man. Our heroes are too good in enacting the roles of the farmer or a beggar but don’t know anything about them. Even if they did, if they are legitimate heroes, they would have forgotten about this by now.
3. Now the nonsense that Congress or YSR will hurt them is garbage. Why would the new government do this? Did the heroes forget that they have been around forever and still acting? And in any case isn’t the public that decides who is in power and who entertains them?
While I wonder about the press reports on all these vague assertions, YSR and Congress team need not worry about AP and its people. While Mr. Naidu’s achievements are commendable, they did not reach the majority of people who decided to bring new government in the state. While YSR and his party have some 70 million people to worry about, the heroes should focus on acting and making quality entertainment. Sometimes they really start believing their won movie image and forget the power of the democracy. Heroes should look at the current change in government as an expensive movie with great expectations as not meeting the expectations of the people.
best wishes to YSR and the new government, and also to Mr. Naidu and the
opposition to do lots of good to all sectors of the State.
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