Andhra Pradesh

Is Naidu hemmed in by his coterie?

Is Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and Telugu Desam supremo missing sanguine political advice of his senior seasoned colleagues with his inner circle now dominated by a coterie comprising mostly magnates from the corporate and the infrastructure world?

It appears so, if one were to analyse the handling of the political crisis triggered by cash-for-vote scandal that has engulfed the TDP in the last fortnight, denting Mr. Naidu’s image. For all his bravado, Mr. Naidu’s political moves lacked the punch that used to be his hallmark till recently and some senior party leaders concede that he was clearly outsmarted by his Telangana counterpart.

From anticipating his rival’s well-planned strategy of trapping his party’s MLA A. Revanth Reddy to misreading the fallout of the misadventure, Mr. Naidu appeared to be wanting and this is being attributed by some senior leaders to his increasing reliance on recent entrants from the industry and education sectors. There was a time when he would summon party veterans and hold discussions for hours together on ways of tackling the crisis, but not much of such consultation happens these days, confided a senior leader.

Apparently Mr. Naidu is not getting the crucial political inputs that would flow unhindered from a seasoned leader rooted to the realties on the ground than from a high flying business tycoon or an industrialist. The refrain heard now is the Chief Minister is always encircled these days more by non-political persons than by hardcore politicians and that he is not realising its implications. Nobody in the party is objecting to the way some of them were handed out posts of Rajya Sabha MPs and even a Minister, but their active involvement in political decision making process is being cited as a reason for the delayed and not-so-impressive counter attack on the TRS Government.

As if this is not enough, many senior leaders throw enough hints of the proactive role played by Mr. Naidu’s son, Nara Lokesh, and at times his friends in drawing political strategies. While appreciating Mr. Lokesh’s acumen in areas such as IT initiatives and welfare of the party cadre, they feel, he has a long way to go in getting into big time politics. But, unfortunately his political opinion is given lot of weight now and the result is Mr. Naidu unusually getting aggressive, where it is not required.

The cumulative effect of all these is showing in the way the Telugu Desam floundered in almost every move made by it the worst one being Telangana MLAs submitting their complaint against TRS to the Telangana Anti-Corruption Bureau for wooing two of their colleagues, a full fortnight after the nominated MLA, Elvis Stephenson petitioned it. And the complaint says TRS has been doing this for the last six months ! What happened to all the smart political thinking that the TDP was known for, one wonders.

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Printable version | Jul 14, 2020 2:01:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/is-naidu-hemmed-in-by-his-coterie/article7331305.ece

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