Chandrababu Naidu opened the political tussle in the run-up to the 2019 general elections, in style. He bowled the first Yorker that was not bowled in Indian polity for long. All, using the law and within the limits of the constitution.

Andhra Pradesh government has revoked the ‘General Letter of Consent’ given to CBI. It means CBI can no longer the state to conduct an investigation, without the prior consent of the government. Whatever CBI is doing would be carried by the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau. AS per official stance of TDP, this decision is only because the state government lost its confidence in CBI owing to the legal battle between CBI Director Alok Verma and its Special Director Rakesh Asthana.

Chandrababu Naidu was an intelligent politician but as an administrator, very few could match his acumen. Perhaps, as if relying on his strengths to cover his weakness, Naidu has unleashed this masterstroke on the centre. Technically speaking this order or the permission by the state of Andhra Pradesh are not such great things to overcome for CBI if it wants to conduct an investigation.

CBI can very well approach any High Court and get a judicial mandate to enter the state and conduct the investigation. But, which High Court would mandate CBI when CBI Bosses are fighting it out in the Supreme Court? Naidu perfectly timed his decision. Or, CBI shall fill out the form every time their team functions in the state. Moreover, any evidence collected during one investigation but used in another can be questioned in the court. It may not stand legal scrutiny, but it would cause a great discomfort.

Even before everyone realized the gravity of the situation to the full extent, TMC joined the bandwagon. Not only they termed the decision of Andhra Pradesh correct but even started mulling taking similar action. To keep routine functioning of CBI within the state of Andhra Pradesh, BJP may pass an ordinance empowering CBI to function in any and all states without the consent of the concerned state. But, that amounts to working against not only the federal structure of the country but even against the spirit. No, the Centre cannot bulldoze the states during normal circumstances. The Centre can do anything during war or any other such exigencies. The ordinance cannot be passed into law and would never stand in the court of law for one hour.

What may worry BJP more is other states following footsteps of Andhra Pradesh. As dangerous as it may look, the action of the AP government, is legal. And, it can only be solved legally. The centre may wait till many states revoke the consent to CBI and even stop permitting CBI to function in those states. Only then the centre can make an ordinance and explain the necessity to a higher court. But, by that time Anarchy would set in.

To solve this potential crisis, Narendra Modi may step in and talk to Chandrababu Naidu. Alternately, he may choose to deal with the issue through legal means; however, lengthier they may be. If AP state unit of BJP tries to project how Naidu obstructed CBI, they cannot do so without starting the story from the lateral induction of Asthana. Moreover, despite the personal bonhomie between the two leaders, the imperialist expansion spree of Amit Shah and conservative, yet the evasive way in which Arun Jaitley dealt the ‘Special Status’ issue has widened the gap between Modi and Naidu in the last one year.

How other states, especially those ruled by non-BJP parties would respond to the AP’s action on CBI may precipitate or evolve the situation. Will the Congress support this move by TDP, especially in the light of recent bonhomie between the two parties? May not be. But then, considering its current President and his priorities or the lack of them, May be.

Congress, which still considers it as the only legitimate ruling party in India can envisage long-range repercussions of the current act by AP government. BJP may be in power now and may be another five years. But, when Congress comes to power, can they run the country without using CBI to pressurize political opponents? Nah. They can never. Despite all the criticism of BJP misusing CBI against political opponents, BJP’s acts look childish when compared with how Congress used them. But, Rahul Gandhi can’t see longer than a week and so in all probability, all states ruled by Congress too may issue letters to CBI informing they are no more welcome.

In fact, this decision by AP government only proved that how can one use the law to suit them. And, this was what one expected from the BJP government while it was dealing with many corruption cases against Congress leaders. If the 2G case was a failure and Maran was acquitted, the sole reason is the gross inefficiency of the BJP government. If one is efficient, even the seventy years past could be scrapped in one year. After all, it took not more than three months for Narasimha Rao to kill the socialist economy, while he used Nehruvian policies to support his actions against Nehruvian Economics. It took less than four years for Vajpayee to conceive and execute the Golden Quadrilateral with the support of Khanduri.

One can only with current BJP leaders know what they want and how to do it.

PS: Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mayawati are crying within but shouting at their assistants for not informing about the provision to keep CBI out of the state when they ruled.

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