Modi fans said the problem was resolved quickly just before the visit of Gujarat chief minister and chief of the BJP's poll campaign committee to Andhra Pradesh. They claimed that Modi should visit each and every state of India so that all local problems are settled in a flash.
But the sarcasm apart, was it a counter-move by the Congress to negate the Modi force in a state where it had made big gains in the last Lok Sabha polls but is looking hopeless at the moment?
It is very likely that the Congress had the Modi factor in its mind while taking the call on Telangana. The leader is about to launch a nationwide campaign and Andhra is a major stoppage during his journey.
A few days ago, the Congress criticised the BJP for deciding to 'sell' tickets for Modi's youth rally in Hyderabad for Rs 5, which shows it was indeed perturbed by Modi's visit to the state where its own base has been eroding fast. The Congress had enough enemies in Andhra to deal with (read Jaganmohan Reddy, Telangana) and was not in favour of a fresh one.
The Congress is desperate to keep Andhra for if it slips (both the Lok Sabha and assembly elections are scheduled in 2014) there, all hopes to return to power for the third time could be dashed. Hence, it made the tactical Telangana move to spoil the BJP's plans of wooing the Telangana supporters through the charismatic Modi. Now, with the Telangana issue settled, Modi and BJP would have to rethink their Andhra strategy.
The Congress adopted a similar strategy in November last year and February this year when it decided to secretly execute terrorists Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru to nullify the BJP's charges that it is soft in tackling terrorism.Coming back to the Modi connection with Telangana, the BJP has reportedly shifted the focus on Seemandhra once Telangana was conceded by the Congress. The opposition party is likely to appeal to the Seemandhra sentiments to make it up for the Telangana 'loss'.
Modi is set to tour Seemandhra after the Hyderabad rally on August 11 and will address rallies in Tirupati, Anantapur, Rajahmundry, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. Barring Tirupati and Anantapur, the other areas belong to Andhra. Earlier, only Rajahmundry figured on Modi's itinerary.
Modi will still try to corner the Congress on the Telangana issue by raising the timing of annoucing the separate state. He slammed the Congress in his blog, saying the latter evaded the issue for nine years and made a move just a few months ahead of the polls.