Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Viewpoint: Exit of K Rosaiah: The veteran gets a raw deal

By Syed Akbar
The sudden exit of K Rosaiah from the Chief Minister's gaddi on Wednesday is as surprising as his elevation to the coveted post 14 months and 22 days ago. Rosaiah, though a veteran of Congress politics, may not have guessed that he would lead the State in unexpected circumstances, and would have to resign in the most
unceremonious way. His is the second shortest stint as the Congress chief minister in the State after Bhavanam Venkatram.

Though the talk of resignation of Rosaiah has been in air for quite some time, political pundits did not expect it to happen so soon. Even Rosaiah's opponents were surprised by the unexpected turn of events.
The sudden rush to Delhi by Rosaiah on Tuesday turned out to be an anti-climax to the Rosaiah-Jagan face-off. The axe fell on docile Rosaiah rather than on defiant YS Jaganmohan Reddy, MP from Kadapa.

The exit of Rosaiah has proved that vast experience in politics might make one a good politician, but not an able administrator or team leader. In the 14 months he ruled over the State, Rosaiah could not
leave a mark of his own. He even could not successfully implement the schemes his predecessor YS Rajasekhar Reddy had initiated. He could not have his say even in the Cabinet he headed. Rosaiah simply drove the horse-cart of YSR. And with the party high command holding the reins, things became worse for Rosaiah in matters, be it  State administration or Cabinet reshuffle.

When Rosaiah took over, the expectations were quite high and he, in a way, could not gain the confidence of people, as YSR did. As Rosaiah succeeded a highly popular leader, people compared his administration
with YSR's regime. This, in a way, turned out to be an uphill task for Rosaiah. He could not come out of the shadow of YSR's immense popularity and Rosaiah had to invariably make a reference or two to Rajasekhar Reddy in his political speeches.

The criticism is that though Rosaiah continued with YSR's schemes, he attached too many strings to them, wining the wrath of several sections of people. The fee reimbursement and BC scholarship issue came as a
political weapon for the Opposition. Rosaiah's occasional outburst and his intolerant remarks did not go well with the Congress high command.

Nevertheless, he successfully managed to control the Telangana and the united Andhra agitations, and communal riots in the State capital, without much loss to life or property. He improved the State's financial
position through austerity, but YSR's populist schemes proved quite a burden for him.

Nature has all along been highly cooperative of Rosaiah's government through copious rainfall and bumper yields, but local politics failed to support his leadership. The criticism is that he failed to take along all
sections within the party. Right from the day he assumed office, Rosaiah faced some or other political missive from Jaganmohan Reddy or his camp. The non-cooperation to his administration reached its peak so much so that the party Central leadership had to intervene. The failing health too proved to be one of the reasons for his sudden exit.

The changeover in the leadership may be smooth, but whoever succeeds Rosaiah will have the daunting task of facing the challenges the separate Telangana and the united Andhra agitations would throw up, once Sri Krishna panel submits its report to the Centre. Besides, the successor will have to take up a massive damage control exercise to keep the fair electoral image of the Congress intact. This may not be an easy task given the internal wrangling and groupism in the State Congress, and the troubles the Jagan group would create occasionally, if the Kadapa MP gets a raw deal during the change in the leadership.

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