Standing on stage in front of a huge gathering, YSRCP leader Jagan Mohan Reddy made some ugly remarks on Thursday. He called for ‘corrupt people like Chandrababu Naidu’ to be shot. While verbal spats in public between political opponents turns ugly often, this inciting of violence by Jagan Reddy is beyond reasonable rhetoric, and needs to be condemned.
In a Democracy, a strong opposition ensures good governance by the ruling party. However, extremely hateful speeches such as this one only incite violence, which is unacceptable in any civilised society.
Especially when the leader he was speaking against, Andhra Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, has faced an assassination attempt.
While it is Jagan’s responsibility as an opposition leader to take on any wrongdoing by the ruling party, inciting violence - and especially couching it as morality - is unbecoming of a leader who wants to become Chief Minister.
It’s also ironic that the subject on which Jagan Reddy is taking on Chandrababu Naidu is corruption. While there are corruption accusations against Chandrababu Naidu as well, the volume of charges is nowhere near the slew of cases against Jagan Reddy, who has even served a jail term for the same.
In fact, just about a week ago, the Enforcement Directorate attached Jagan’s assets worth nearly Rs 148 crore, in connection with the ongoing money laundering probe against him - and even that is just the tip of the iceberg of graft charges against the leader. The ED has already attached assets worth over Rs 1,000 crore in money laundering cases against Jagan before this.
Jagan is accused of taking bribes and giving undue favours to various persons/companies as ‘quid pro quo’, when his father, YS Rajasekhara Reddy, was the Chief Minister of Andhra between 2004 and 2009.
The ED has filed a criminal case against Jagan and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on the CBI’s 11 chargesheets against him in the 'quid pro quo' investment case.
In addition to the CBI and the ED, Jagan has also been probed by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Indian Revenue Service (IRS).
But instead of addressing the charges, Jagan has clearly decided to resort to gimmicks to get the attention of the people of Andhra, ahead of the 2019 Assembly polls.
Thursday’s speech calling for the shooting of ‘people like Chandrababu Naidu’, and his game of fumes to appease the gods to win him the Chief Ministership, are the signs of a desperate man, who seems to have forgotten how to differentiate between rhetoric and hate, between real work and gimmick.
Views expressed are the author's own.