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The Dice Rolls In Bidda's
Politics is all about timing but it’s still a gamble. And Chandrababu Naidu rolled the dice last fortnight by dissolving the state assembly as a preamble to early elections. A senior TDP leader waxed eulogistic, saying Naidu has once again displayed an "intuitive grasp of the right issue at the right time". Naidu’s intuition better be correct. After nine years in office, the storm-clouds of anti-incumbency have cast a dark shadow on his fate and this may not be an easy election to win. Polls, in the normal course, would have been held in late 2004. The precise dates now—whether February or later—will depend on the outcome of an ongoing procedural wrangle with the Election Commission. But Naidu claims fresh polls are necessary because development is being blocked by the "destructive methods" of the Naxalites and the "obstructionist policies" of the Congress-led Opposition. He is, however, hard-pressed to explain how that would change if the TDP were to win a fresh mandate. The common political perception is that Naidu, after the PW attack on him, is hoping to cash in on a supposed sympathy wave.
The question is just how potent that will be. The attack hardly generated the kind of outcry the TDP might have hoped for. But there is another reason for Naidu’s haste. After two successive droughts, most of the state saw a successful monsoon this year. Naidu would rather go in for the harvest now than risk another dry year. Besides, the Congress is in disarray and early polls could catch them napping.
The stamp scam spectre is also haunting the chief minister. After a senior Naidu minister, C. Krishna Yadav, was arrested by the Maharashtra police and subsequently expelled, there have been rumours of other TDP politicians being involved. Some say Naidu wants the polls out of the way before the dragnet could close in on others.