Chandrababu Naidu: Only hope in AP's darkest hours

Chandrababu Naidu: Only hope in AP's darkest hours

For the 13 districts that form the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, Nara Chandrababu Naidu is the only hope as an experienced hand like him is needed during its darkest hours.

The state will continue to be known as Andhra Pradesh but it has to start afresh. Right now, it is not only a state without a capital but also a state which does not have a decent camp offices for the Chief Minister and the police chief. 

An uncertain future, an unwelcoming neighbour (Telangana) and a huge deficit budget are few of the innumerable problems staring at Naidu, the two-time chief minister of former Andhra Pradesh.

He has served as the chief minister for 8 years and 8 months from 1995 to 2004. He was the state’s youngest Assembly member and youngest minister at 28.

He was voted the “IT Indian of the Millennium” in a poll conducted by India Today group and is the longest serving Leader of the opposition in Andhra Pradesh Assembly. He preferred to be addressed as the “CEO” of Andhra Pradesh and was instrumental in making Hyderabad one of India’s IT hubs. 

After the CWC announcement, Naidu surprised everyone by demanding a hefty package for construction of capital city for the residual state. He realised early that the division of the state is inevitable. 

He sat with industrialists and investors, young men and women and farmers to chalk out a road map for the state which will have to begin its life from the scratch. Naidu had got Rs 5,000 crore worth investment proposals for the residual Andhra even before he took oath as the chief minister.

He is not new to crises - personal and political. On October 1, 2003, he survived a claymore mine blast set up by Maoists near Alipiri on the way to Tirumala hills.

Hoping that a sympathy wave will save him politically, Naidu opted for early elections against the opinion of his cabinet colleagues. The TDP lost to the Congress led by Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Naidu's nemesis.

In later years, Naidu agreed that hike in power tariff, over dependence on IT and rubbing shoulders with the rich and the mighty led to his downfall. Today, he claims to be a changed man.

In 2009, Naidu tied up with the TRS, a strategy that failed at the polling booths as the party’s vote share plummeted to 28.12 per cent. The Congress won the polls with a simple majority by winning 156 of the 294 Assembly seats. 

Now, the king-maker and the architect of vision 2020 is back, riding on the Modi wave and anti-Congress mood of the voter. The TDP-BJP combine won 106 of the 175 Assembly seats and 17 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the residual AP.

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