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Updated: September 25, 2013 03:11 IST

Chandrababu Naidu hopes to reprise kingmaker role

Smita Gupta
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TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu
The Hindu TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu

In 1996, Andhra Bhawan, strategically located just off India Gate, was where the United Front was formed, with Telugu Desam Party (TDP) boss and the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu playing a stellar role.

Seventeen years on, Mr. Naidu camped at a five-star hotel on the other side of India Gate during a recent visit to Delhi. He is out of power but is hoping he can play a similar role in the run-up to 2014.

Though he sounded out Opposition leaders, his immediate concern is the fragile state of his own party.

It is divided over the Telangana issue and marginalised by the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the YSR Congress, which Mr. Naidu describes as “a branch office of the Congress”. Do the General Elections hold an answer to the TDP’s problems?

In an interview with The Hindu, Mr. Naidu was in a reminiscent mood. He recalled the TDP’s golden years, when it was a key player in the governments led by the National Front (1989-91), the United Front (1996-98) and the National Democratic Alliance (1998-2004). “Whenever there has been a crisis at the national level, the TDP has played a positive and crucial role. We want to play that role again. How [we will do that], we will decide after consulting other parties,” he said.

Mr. Naidu said he hasn’t decided whether to give in to overtures by the BJP, or put together a non-BJP, non-Congress front. On one hand, he stressed there was a “crisis at the national level” and an urgent need to throw the Congress out of power; while on the other, there was the pull of “secularism”.

Mr. Naidu’s party has been out of power in Andhra Pradesh since 2004. Sources close to him said Mr. Naidu felt he paid the price for being allied with the BJP during the NDA years — especially after the Gujarat riots in 2002.

At that time, Mr. Naidu had unsuccessfully tried to persuade the NDA Government to sack Narendra Modi. When that failed, he almost quit the NDA but, was persuaded by his party colleagues to stay on.

But today, the wheel appears to have turned full circle with Mr. Naidu coming under tremendous pressure from his party to back Mr. Modi. He told The Hindu: “Colleagues will always give a different feedback. As party president, I listen to all suggestions. [Eventually] I’ll take the call which will be good for the party, nation and State.” The time to take that call, he said, has not come.

During his stay in the Capital, Mr. Naidu met Rajnath Singh (BJP), Sharad Yadav (Janata Dal-United), Prakash Karat (CPI-M) and A. B. Bardhan (CPI). He is also in touch with the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and Odisha, J. Jayalalithaa and Naveen Patnaik.

He will meet West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee and Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav at “an appropriate time”. TDP sources said Mr. Naidu is aware that most of these leaders are highly individualistic and it will be difficult to get them on one platform.

The pressing concern, however, is the TDP’s precarious situation. Is there a solution to the present crisis in Andhra Pradesh? Mr. Naidu said: “The situation is no longer in the hands of any political party. The public is on the roads. The only solution that can come is by talking to the Joint Action Committees, civil society groups and stakeholders on both sides.”

This prompted Mr. Naidu to warn the National Integration Council against “people losing faith in political parties and politicians”. He said if these issues are not solved soon it will be “dangerous for democracy and a disaster for the nation”.

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Chandrababu Naidu has made tremendous contribution for the development of AP and a fillip to IT / software industry during his 9 year rule. He couldn't concentrate on farmers problems but has successfully implemented 'Rythu Bazars' and Prajala vaddaku paalana. YSR in his indomitable style posed as saviour of farmers with false promises and moving around in their own attire, lungi & Talapaga and mislead them forever. His strategy/proposal to large scale agriculture by clubbing the lands of small farmers did not come through in EG Dt. God forbid it otherwise small farmers would have been thrown out of their natural vocation. Chandra if voted to power again can make the state developed in true democratic spirit.

from:  Vyas
Posted on: Sep 26, 2013 at 08:28 IST

mr. naidu's leader ship is most important for ap politics

from:  GANGARAPU VENKATESULU
Posted on: Sep 26, 2013 at 06:36 IST

Naidu should support NDA.He can elevate himself by elevating NaMo.If he takes reins from Kiran Kumar Reddy in upcoming elections, he won't repeat the mistake again.He will pay heed to farmers, Teachers and nonIT people's concerns

from:  suneel
Posted on: Sep 26, 2013 at 00:58 IST

Before making this grand plan at national level, can he win his own seat now?. What about Telangana. Is he opposing Telangana state?, if so what about his party MLAs in Telangana. Can he openly say that he is opposed to Telangana state?, He lost his bearings. he spent force, he is finished. Kamma labby is doing every thing to resurrect AP which is dead, Naidu who is finished politically, morally and personally. He is confused, he frustrated, he is desperate.

from:  GB Rao
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 20:16 IST

TDP must first win seats in an election. Then in case TDP cannot become a king , the next better option will be of a KINGMAKER

from:  Radhesh R
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 18:50 IST

At present he is the only leader who can help to stabilize the state(AP) and help to form a responsible govt at center.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 18:42 IST

I believe Naidu is a good leader compared to his opponents.. Yes, he was foolish enough to give the letter to CWC, no support there.. But he is least corrupt and better just than congress and Jagan.. Its been 9 yrs Andhra Pradesh is doing down on a slow growth and I believe only Naidu can impose necessary reforms.. I believe that if the educated comes to vote, Naidu will surely come to power.. As usual Jagan plays the religion card and now its clear that he joins Congress in 2014.. He is following Chiranjeevi and soon will support Congress.. Its a shame people dont realize it.. Jagan just got a bail not evicted.. he is still facing multiple cases..

from:  somesh
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 17:04 IST

After the announcement of CWC decision of creation of Telangana, the Seemandra turned in to crises. As of, so for no political party except YSRCP supported the seemandra agitation, instead themselves separated on political lines. Today a major lapse become visible openly not supporting the agitation for the united Andhra Pradesh. So the present agitation leads from the side of the people only. The need of the hour is a political united forum for the united Andhra Pradesh irrespective of their political motives and mileage and not a political equation of the coming election. Now it is bound duty of all the political parties to draw a pressure unitedly and to win the trust and confidence of the people.

from:  Shaik Rafeeq Ahamed
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 16:08 IST

I had good experience with Mr. Naidu and he is correct. I can write like this people lost faith in political parties and politicians too. Already Indian democracy is in dangerous shape and a disaster for the nation started.

from:  kumar
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 15:41 IST

I had good experience with Mr. Naidu and he is correct. I can write like this people lost faith in political parties and politicians too. Already Indian democracy is in dangerous shape and a disaster for the nation started. Thanks, Kumar Pandruvada USA.

from:  Kumar Pandruvada
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 15:40 IST

Babu is always weak person and never a courageous leader. He used media to promote himself. But ever since YSR established Sakshi and his own networks, Babu ran out of ideas. Look at what he is doing today, he is visiting delhi to stop Jagan bail.He cannot come to power again since people lost faith in him. He was no match for jagan

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 14:00 IST

Naidu has self inflicted damage and has failed to judge the outcome of his decisions. I wish he corrects them and comes out out of the box ideas.

from:  Bharat
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 12:41 IST

Mr.Naidu is a true leader . if he gets an opportunity another time to rule the state he will definitely make the state as well as country better.i hope he will be the future chief minister of andhra pradesh and play a key role in country's politics .

from:  madhugeetha
Posted on: Sep 25, 2013 at 10:14 IST
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