I confess that I’ve never heard that audio clip of the 2015 cash for vote scandal. But in bus stands, auto-rickshaws, tea stalls, barber shops—in all places where people discuss politics with random strangers and on either side of the argument seem have insider information—I’ve heard people talking about it and debating over the veracity of it. Some say it is his voice. Others change the topic. And a few claim that it was an impersonation of the CM of my state to defame the man who is toiling to make it the next Singapore.

This conspiracy theory brought back memories of the famous body doubles Saddam Hussein used in his heydays. And I wondered…what if? I mean what if our beloved CM is not at the helm of affairs and we are actually being headed by an impersonator? At first the thought was so outlandish that I brushed it aside. But it kept returning and each time it made me aware of the dissonance between the impersonator and the original man we know pre-2014.

For starters, before 2014 the original man was vociferous about my state being accorded the Special Category Status. After coming to power, he even held an emergency meeting to pressurize the central government over granting the Special Status to the state. There were some high-octane speeches. And then they all went limp. That is when I suspect the sly impersonator took over stealthily.

Otherwise how come permission to hold a peaceful protest at RK beach in Vizag, against the denial of the Special Status—a cause the original man was so passionate about—was denied? Not only that, a member of the impersonator’s clique stated that the youth of my state rather indulge in pig fight competitions, than demand explanations about the rulers’ flip-flops. The original man would never approve of such insults to Telugu youth. He has dreams of making us all affluent Singaporeans who would rather race horses like they do in Kranji, Singapore.

In fact, once the impersonator is removed, I hope the original man will build a stud farm and a race course in Amaravathi. We’ll have some handsome, thoroughbred horses and Amaravathi can become the global capital in ‘horse trading’. Since the impersonator is so full of vice and appears to be very adept at horse trading, while the original man, (before elections) would become coy as a bride at the mere mention of it, we could build a place incorporating both elements of vice and coyness where horse trading can take place. I’d suggest we build (adhering to Vaastu principles that the original man is so fond of) a five-star hotel overlooking the river Krishna and call it ‘Hotel Vice-coy’. It’ll be a fun place, filled with mirth, brisk horse trading and nostalgia.

The impersonator is aware that his incompetence might be exposed and so he very cleverly outsourced the PR campaign of the government to 25 officially appointed journalists. Sometimes I wonder if this is the reason why yellow journalism is called yellow journalism. Isn’t it an irony that the party colour has lent itself to the concept of yellow journalism? Maybe the impersonator is aware of it too, which is why to avoid irony being discovered, he takes it with him wherever he goes.

After sensing trouble with some Swiss challenges, the impersonator went to Switzerland recently. Even as he rues at home that the finances of the state are in shambles, the impersonator took his distinguished sidekicks (including poor old irony) and spent lavishly on branding us as the Sun Rise State. While the Swiss enjoyed some great Andhra cuisine and warmed themselves at the embers of the Sun Rise state, poor old irony froze to death in the frigid climate of Davos!

I hope the original man returns soon. Because he would not globe trot and would strive to improve the socio-economic parameters of sustainable development which he promises every election. He is a visionary leader. Since he makes us lesser mortals see things like freedom and a society sans identity politics which are far, far away it is perhaps safe to call him a ‘tele-visionary’ leader. Once the original man returns during the next elections, I am sure we will all be promised every kind of freedom. I am personally interested in academic freedom as only a revamp of our education system will make us progressive, inclusive and egalitarian. Only an enlightened citizenry can question and take to task impersonators. Besides, academic freedom also gives people opportunities to study what an individual desires and grooms intellectuals like the original man’s party is brimming with. It is my desire too, to be able to pursue my B. Com degree in Physics! Such freedom and intellectuals are restricted to the original man’s party.

For now, the confusion between the impersonator and the original man has resulted in numerous flip-flops. When the original man spoke during elections, we flipped. Now he flopped!

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