For the ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh, which is facing a tough situation politically and struggling hard to retain power in 2019, the recent cyclone Titli that created havoc in Srikakulam district has come as a bolt from the blue.
Generally, TDP president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had earned the reputation of tackling cyclone-related issues in the past – whether it was the devastating cyclone of Konaseema in 1996 or Hudhud in Visakhapatnam in 2014.
Whether his opponents agree with it or not, Naidu handled such crisis situations in the past with a lot of efficiency.
Even when there was a massive cyclone in Odisha in 1999, it was Naidu who went to the rescue of the people in the neighbouring state by providing all the necessary equipment and relief material, which the Odisha government still acknowledges.
But during the recent cyclone in Srikakulam, Naidu has miserably failed to undertake timely relief and rehabilitation measures.
In many areas, the restoration of power supply is yet to be done. The authorities failed to ensure supply of food and water to the people in the cyclone-affected areas.
In fact, despite claiming of having technology that can warn the people about the impending cyclones, the Naidu government failed in taking preparatory measures.
The real-time governance claimed by Naidu failed to ensure real-time relief works.
“The state administration is facing serious allegations of not being able to rise to the occasion and take mitigation measures. The locals are expressing serious anger over the delay in supply of food and drinking water. There are reports of sporadic protests by cyclone-affected people,” an analyst remarked in his report.
Naidu himself admitted that more than 70 percent of the affected people are complaining of delays in relief operations even after four days.
Almost all of the water supply schemes in the affected villages have gone defunct due to the power shutdown and damages due to cyclonic winds.
Apparently realising that the government is at the receiving end, Naidu has started blaming it on the opposition parties alleging that they were instigating the people to take up protests hampering the restoration works.
However, analysts say the TDP which has already been facing a tough situation in north coastal Andhra has lost further ground due to cyclone.