Lokesh likely to contest from Kuppam constituency

Is Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu aiming big and searching for a safe Lok Sabha seat to contest that would be in sync with his latest brainwave of playing a high-profile, proactive role in national politics?

Ever since Mr. Naidu shared platform with the BJP bigwigs in Bhopal while attending the swearing-in ceremony of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Chouhan recently, it has triggered speculation not only of his party moving closer to the saffron party, but also of his inclination to move over to Delhi.

During his meetings with the BJP leaders including Mr. Narendra Modi, he was believed to have been offered the post of convenor of National Democratic Alliance, if it returned to power.

Within Telugu Desam too, senior leaders already hint at Mr. Naidu becoming “national president” of the party in the event of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the party splitting into two units, perhaps among few regional parties, to have such unique arrangement. The TDP perceives that it has strong cadre in both the regions and hence Mr. Naidu continues to pursue his ‘two-eye’ policy.

Senior leaders not surprised

So when the word went round that he was now looking for a Lok Sabha seat, senior leaders were not surprised.

“It is in tune with the changing political scenario. It is the next natural step, which he had been resisting, though he played pivotal role in the formation of at least two non-Congress governments at the Centre. Having earned the reputation of being an able administrator during his stint as Chief Minister, he should now look at Delhi,” said a party leader.

In a rudimentary survey, his supporters have shortlisted Hindupur Lok Sabha seat now held by the party’s MP, Nimmala Kishtappa and Malkajgiri skirting Hyderabad. While Hindupur remains party’s stronghold, Malkajgiri is being chosen largely for the presence of migrants from Seemandhra and the composite culture of voters.

By seeking to contest from Malkajgiri, Mr. Naidu wants to prove that he is one leader who represents all Telugus cutting across regions and “States”. Khammam Lok Sabha seat was also in the list, but was dropped owing to the domination of the Left parties.

If Mr. Naidu switches over to Lok Sabha, his son Nara Lokesh, is considered the likely choice to contest from his Kuppam Assembly seat in Chittoor district.

Of late, Mr. Lokesh has been taking a lot of interest in party activities and addressing a series of meetings of party youth and students’ wings.