Chandrababu Naidu Keen To Play Key Role In National Politics
Buoyant with his party’s victory in recent elections in residual state of Andhra Pradesh, known as Seemandhra, the rejuvenated Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N Chandrababu Naidu is now looking for a greater role at the national level and has plans to expand his party’s base to other parts of the country and achieve a status of national party Chandrababu Naidu, after returning to power with a gap of a decade, is now focusing on playing a key role in national politics with the help of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. His national ambitions were reflected with the declaration of party as a national party at the two-day annual convention `Mahanadu’ held in Hyderabad on May 27.
The declaration was made on the birthday of party’s founder N T Rama Rao, on May 28. Stating that already party is a ruling party in Andhra Pradesh and a formidable opposition party in Telangana, Chandrababu Naidu said that it can get recognition as a national party by getting at least 6 per cent of votes of minimum seats in four more states. “From today onwards we can start expanding our party in neighboring states like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Odisha and Andaman Nicobar Islands, where a large number of Telugu people are residing. With these efforts, I am sure by 2019 elections we will get recognition as a national party”, he added.
The irony is that he had left the BJP-led NDA just a decade ago blaming BJP’s failure to check its `communal face’. It was Narendra Modi’s whirlwind tour across the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, known as Seemandhra on April 30 that helped TDP sweep the polls. The popular Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan started Jana Sena Party, but decided to campaign in the polls without putting candidates in the polls to make Narendra Modi as prime minister so that to save the country from Congress. He played a key role in ensuring TDP’s victory. In the initial stage, he refused to campaign for TDP and would limit to constituencies contested by BJP candidates. But with the persuasion of Narendra Modi, he went round the state in support of TDP candidates.
Will Naidu become NDA Convenor?
Realising that defeat in this polls might have forced his premature retirement from the polls and this success was possible only with the strong support from BJP, Chandrababu Naidu is now focusing more on national politics. During the United Front regime also he played a key role in national politics being Convenor of the Front.
Though he was a crucial supporter during the Vajpayee period, he had extended only outside support, without becoming part of NDA and TDP members didn’t join Union Cabinet, except taking Lok Sabha speaker post for some time. But this time, without hesitation, he announced he is part of NDA.
Does TDP have number of 16 MPs almost close to Shiva Sena and was offered only one cabinet minister, Naidu didn’t make it a issue unlike Shiva Sena. Though he tried his best to get cabinet berth to his Rajya Sabha member Srujana Chowdary, who is considered his ‘inner circle’ in the party, he only said: “I am not bargaining for cabinet berths, I am only interested to secure maximum support from the Center for the development of Andhra Pradesh.”
According to TDP sources, he is expect Prime Minister may prefer to chose him as NDA Convenor, which is being kept vacant since the resignation of Sharad Yadav last year after JD(U) walked out from NDA. Even without a formal position, to ensure key role in national politics, he has reportedly decided to spend two days every week in Delhi.
Though Hyderabad would continue to be the joint capital of two states for the next ten years, Naidu is showing interest to function more from Andhra Pradesh region by staying in Vijayawada two days in a week. A TDP senior leader said that Naidu may not be in Hyderabad more than three days in week.
Naidu’s “Target 2019”
Even before getting into office and waiting for a week to sworn in after appointment day, Naidu is making party cadres to focus more on how to get ready for 2019 polls. At the conclusion of Mahanadu, he gave a clarion call to the party cadres that “Target 2019” should be the slogan and the party should strive to come to power in Telangana also.
While, his Telangana counter party and TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao decided to sworn in as chief minister on June 2, on the appointment day, Naidu decided to wait for a good muhurtham till June 8. Against the normal practice of oath taking ceremony at capital city, he has decided to take office between Vijayawada and Guntur at a massive attended public meeting. He also invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi, besides several chief ministers and union ministers to be present on this occasion.
In spite of party’s poor performance in Telangana, he is not giving up hopes in that region. He called upon the rank and file of the party in Telangana to strengthen the party units and put pressure on the new government to fulfill all its promises. He said the TDP should stand by its people in the Telangana state and win over their confidence.
He called upon his counterpart Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao not to do anything that would wake up passions between the Telugu people. Naidu said he was ready to cooperate with him and was willing to go to Delhi along with him so that they could jointly discuss the issue with the Union government and resolve the matter.
Calling upon KCR to compete with him in the development of Telangana, Naidu said he would extend his fullest cooperation in fighting against the Centre to see that Telangana state also develops at a faster pace. He said he would also plead with the Centre to allocate funds liberally for the development of Telangana.
“Andhra Pradesh will be formally divided on June 2 but that does not mean that we should divide the people. The spirit between the two state governments should be to work in unison and fight jointly against anyone who tries to harm the interests of the two Telugu-speaking states,” he added.
Bharat Ratna to NTR
He became chief minister in 1995 after insermonously dethroning his father-in-law and party founder N T Rama Rao from the office. During nine and half year’s period as chief minister he tried his best to make the people to forget NTR. But after 2004 defeat he realised how NTR was close to people’s heart.
After keeping mum on the popular demand for nation’s highest honour `Bharat Ratna’ to NTR for nearly two decades, for the first time, Naidu announced at party’s Mahanadu he would request Narendra Modi to present such honour to NTR. Even the party convention passed a resolution asking the Centre to honor NTR with `Bharat Ratna’.
In this regard, Naidu made another controversial statement saying that he would talk to the Centre and see that the name of Rajiv Gandhi international airport at Shamshabad (Hyderabad) was renamed as N T Rama Rao international airport. Originally this airport proposal was cleared by NDA government and decided to name it after NTR. But Dr YS Rajasekhara Reddy government after completion of the construction of the airport renamed it after Rajiv Gandhi.
Modi-Naidu combine to own up PV
The present combination of Narendra Modi-Chandrababu Naidu seems to be seeking to own up former Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, by running down the already beleaguered Congress Party which had shown disgrace and disregard towards the departed leader. Playing the Telangana self-respect card to the hilt, Chandrababu Naidu promised to build a befitting national monument for former premier PV Narasimha Rao in New Delhi.
Taking a dig at the way Rao was ‘hounded’ by the Sonia Gandhi family after his death, Naidu pointed out that the body of the former PM was unceremoniously shipped to Hyderabad instead of being given the rightful place among the Prime Ministers of the country at Delhi.
Paying rich tributes to PV, Naidu said that the former prime minister had introduced economic reforms and saved the nation from bankruptcy in 1990s. He served the Congress party all through his life and brought name and fame to the nation with his intellectual and administrative talents.
It may be mentioned here that even Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of humiliation meted out to PV during his pre-election speeches. Now, Naidu wants to take the help of Modi to build a memorial for the former Prime Minister, which would only be rubbing salt on the wounds of the Congress bosses.
By Ch Narendra from Hyderabad