Andhra Pradesh

Not in a hurry to become CM: Lokesh

TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh during an interaction with The Hindu at the party office in Guntur.— Photo: V. RAJU  

Lokesh, national general secretary of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and son of Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu perceives party men thrusting CM’s position on him as premature and says drawing parallels with peers such as KTR, Akhilesh Yadav and Jaganmohan Reddy is not justified as they are his seniors.

Excerpts from an exclusive interaction with The Hindu :

How is TDP positioned at present in the State and across the country?

We came back to power in A.P. after ten years, but in Telangana we lost the elections and at the national and State levels we are aligned with the BJP. In the Andamans also we are contesting and we supported the BJP there. These are the three regions we are focused on.

As far as Andhra is concerned, our concentration is on motivating party activists to live up to the expectations of people. In Telangana, we’ve lost our MLAs but cadre is intact and we will bounce back soon. For instance, in the recent Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections, we emerged as the second largest party in terms of votes polled.

This apart, we are trying to empower Telugus in all States and countries but it’s not necessary to take a political route to do so.

How do you look at your journey from party workers welfare fund coordinator to party general secretary?

I’m fortunate in the sense that I’ve been given a great responsibility at a very young age. I am working with great minds and leaders. I could also show tremendous progress in terms of party membership drive. In the last effort in 2014, we aimed at 30 lakh but could enrol over 50 lakh members within a very short period. We are now aiming at one-crore membership.

Post the encounter killing of 30 Maoists on the Andhra-Odisha border recently, there was a life threat to you and Mr. Naidu from Maoists through a letter. How do you view it?

It’s an occupational hazard.

The Opposition brands Lokesh an extra-constitutional authority and there are charges of corruption in general governance.

Everything is done within the constitutional framework. I have a role to play in the party and I’m playing it effectively.Coming to the charges of corruption, I request them to prove the allegations.

We are declaring our assets every year. There are multiple 420 cases on Mr. Jagan. It was sad to see YSRCP saying that there was a corrupt deal between the Singapore government and AP. Amaravati will happen, come what may.

How do you view the demand from Ministers and party leaders to induct you in the Cabinet?

Senior leaders are saying that if I don’t accept the offer I’ll be branded inefficient. But if the party decides so, I’ll accept whatever portfolio is assigned to me.

You are also branded CM material and parallels are drawn with Akhilesh Yadav and other rising sons in different States.

Our leader will be there as CM for at least 25 years and I’m not in a hurry.

Another challenge I face is compared to my peers, I’m much younger. KTR (KT Rama Rao) is close to 40, Jagan is above 40 and Akhilesh Yadav is in late forties, but I’m in early thirties. I want to be more experienced, beaten up a couple of times, win a few elections before I’m tuned to it.

How do you see competition from other parties?

I’m not dismissing them but all I can say is that there is no competition for TDP in AP.

TDP wants its party workers to be economically strong and at the same time preaches corruption- free politics. Is it possible in the present scenario?

We don’t want party men to get into corrupt methods.

We found out ways to make it happen for party workers as well. The NTR Trust has tied up with Uber, Ola Cabs and Future Group who have micro-entrepreneurship opportunities and assisted e-commerce.

What’s your ultimate goal in life?

For me and all of us in family, our future is tied with the future of Amaravati and A.P. We want to create a vibrant economy and vibrant democracy and create a State where there is a lot of prosperity for people.

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Printable version | Oct 26, 2020 1:38:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/Not-in-a-hurry-to-become-CM-Lokesh/article16440113.ece

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