It is a given that when leaders quit a party, they do their new political home a favour by publicly attacking their former bosses. That is the standard template being followed by Gannavaram MLA Vamsi Vallabhneni who articulated his disappointment with politics, even saying he wanted to quit the field altogether.
This week, he started off by showering abuse and displaying intemperate language against TDP senior leader Rajendra Prasad. And then upped the ante further by targeting Chandrababu Naidu and Nara Lokesh. And the language has been unbecoming, providing grist to the social media that laps up such content.
Lokesh had accused Vamsi of switching parties and moving closer to the ruling YSRCP in order to protect his “properties”. Vamsi hit back by pointing out that Lokesh had even failed to become an MLA and that he was surviving in politics on his father’s name.
The tirade did not stop there and got more personal. Vamsi who is close to Lokesh’s cousin, Telugu superstar NTR, ridiculed the TDP general secretary by saying he develops 104 fever just by seeing NTR.
“Lokesh is scared of NTR. Just by seeing NTR, Lokesh develops 104 fever,” mocked Vamsi. Deploying the oft-used epithet of “Pappu” for Lokesh, Vamsi asked why NTR was kept at a distance from the Telugu Desam.
Later on Friday, Vamsi complained to the Vijayawada police commissioner that he was being targeted on social media with posts abusing him. The TDP while clarifying that Lokesh had nothing to do with the negative news on some websites, suspended him from the TDP for alleged anti-party activities.
The entire drama was being played out for this piece of official paper. Now Vamsi does not have to resign as MLA and can continue to openly support Jaganmohan Reddy while not joining the YSRCP officially. So far, Jagan had kept the condition that if an MLA wished to cross over to the YSRCP, he or she would need to resign and seek a fresh mandate in a byelection on the YSRCP ticket. With not even six months since the election, most lawmakers were reluctant to do that given the expenditure it will entail.
Vamsi’s moves may inspire many other potential turncoats to adopt the same strategy.
For the YSRCP, Vamsi’s colourful outburst came in handy to deflect attention from Chandrababu Naidu’s deeksha on the sand scarcity and provided ammunition to the ruling party to say the TDP chief is losing support and losing it fast.