Chandababu Naidu wraps up his 208-day foot march
Visakhapatnam: As TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday wrapped up his 208-day walkathon that was seen as an attempt to reclaim his lost political ground, the party leaders believed that it will help them to counter two main challenges of Jagan and Telangana in the state.
The 63-year-old former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh undertook 'Vastunna Meekosam' (I am coming for you) padayatra to reinvent himself as the leader as well as the party that has been out of power for nine years now.
Flanked by almost all the top leaders of TDP and film star Nandamuri Balakrishna, Chandrababu unveiled a 60-feet pylon at Sivaji Nagar on the outskirts of the port city to mark the culmination of the 2817-km foot march that had begun at Hindupur in Anantapuram district on October 2 last year.
Visakhapatnam city acquired a yellow hue today as lakhs of TDP workers from across the state descended on it for the culmination of the "historic" foot march.
Chandrababu led a 20-km road show from Sivaji Nagar to Andhra University Engineering College ground where a mammoth public meeting was organised to mark the occasion.
Politically, the foot march was very significant for Chandrababu as well as the TDP as they were in desperate need to reinvent themselves in the changed political circumstances in the state.
Going by the response the yatra generated in 16 districts of the state, Chandrababu seemed to have succeeded in re-establishing his lost touch with the people, TDP sources said.
By announcing different packages for every particular section of the society, the former CM sought to win over those sections that once formed a strong vote bank for the TDP.
Thanks to his yatra, YSR Congress president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy's alleged corruption and his illegal assets have become points of serious debate across the state. So much so that the ruling Congress leaders themselves are now endorsing Chandrababu's claims as Jagan has become their "common enemy", they said.
Through the foot march, Chandrababu also sought to boost the morale of TDP rank and file, which has hit a low being in the Opposition for nine years.
He also utilised the opportunity to build alternative leadership in many constituencies, where sitting legislators and some other senior leaders defected to the YSR Congress (in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema) and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (in Telangana).
TDP leaders believe the yatra helped in creating a "silent wave" in favour of the party despite several odds (read the Jagan and Telangana factors).
'Bring back the leader -- Save Andhra Pradesh' was the slogan that the TDP extensively propagated through Chandrababu's tour, stressing that only the party could be the real alternative to the Congress and its "offshoot" YSR Congress.
The long walkathon, of course, has taken a toll on the 63-year-old leader's physical health as he developed arthritis.
Barring Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Prakasam, SPS Nellore, Kadapa and his native Chittoor district, Chandrababu covered all other districts in the state in his foot march.
After a brief period of rest, he is expected to complete the tour of leftover districts by bus.