Chandrababu Naidu at crossroads as TDP faces rout in assembly, Lok Sabha polls

Chandrababu had to drop his PhD programme in economics after he became a minister.

Chandrababu Naidu at crossroads as TDP faces rout in assembly, Lok Sabha polls

Vijayawada: N Chandrababu Naidu, who has a few records, including being the longest serving Chief Minister in Andhra Pradesh, finds himself at the crossroads as his TDP faced a rout in the assembly as well as Lok Sabha polls, dashing his hopes of emerging kingmaker at the national level.

Naidu, who has claimed himself to be the senior most politician, given his 40 year career, created a record of sorts by embracing Congress, against which the party was founded by his father-in-law, the late N T Rama Rao.

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He served as Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh for a little over eight years from September 1, 1995 to May 13, 2004 the longest tenure for any and served as the first CM of (bifurcated) AP from June 2014.

He also has the other distinctions of being the youngest MLA and the youngest minister at the age of 28 when he was first inducted as minister for cinematography in the then Cabinet of T Anjaiah in 1978 in the (united) state.

An eight-time MLA, the 69-year-old Naidu also holds the record as the longest serving Leader of the Opposition in (united) Andhra Pradesh between 2004 and 2014.

He started off as a students union leader in Sri Venkateswara University while pursuing his Masters in Economics. He joined Youth Congress in 1975 and was elected as MLA for the first time in 1978 from his native Chandragiri constituency.

Chandrababu had to drop his PhD programme in economics after he became a minister.

While serving as minister, Chandrababu caught Telugu silver screen legend Rama Raos eye and later married his daughter in 1980.

Be lost the 1983 election as a Congress nominee in the newborn Telugu Desam's wave, but within months quietly switched over to the fledgling party floated by NTR.

He was made in-charge of Karshaka Parishad, the farmers council established by the NTR government, and later the TDP general secretary to emerge as the key strategist and organiser of party affairs.

In 1989, Chandrababu shifted to Kuppam Assembly constituency bordering Tamil Nadu and Karnataka and was elected to the Legislature consecutively from there.

In 1994, he became minister for finance and revenue in NTRs Cabinet,but in August 1995 led an internal party coup to dislodge his father-in-law from the Chief Ministers post and take over the reins with the support of a majority of MLAs.

Chandrababu simultaneously became TDP president and took full control of the party after NTRs demise in January 1996.

He then played a key role in national politics as well and helped form the United Front government with non-Congress, non-BJP parties.

He was "offered" the Prime Ministers post in 1997 but "rejected" it, saying he wanted to dedicate himself to the development of Andhra Pradesh.

As Chief Minister, Chandrababu ushered in reforms, both in economics and governance and launched pioneering initiatives like e-governance, e-Seva (electronic delivery of government services) and Citizens Charter.

He came out with a Vision-2020 policy document for all round development of the state and implemented it with passion. It, however, produced mixed results as he attracted flak for neglecting the critical rural development.

From a city famous for its pearls and biryani, Naidu turned Hyderabad into a major hub of Information Technology, attracting giants like Microsoft, Wipro, Google and several others to set up shop there.

A workaholic and a taskmaster, Chandrababu was hailed as "Chief Executive Officer" of the state rather than Chief Minister and won international recognition for his administration. He even found a place in the "dream team" of the World Economic Forum, to which he was a regular invitee.

Successive years of drought, however, wrecked havoc to the rural economy in the state as farmers remained the worst sufferers, leading to a spate of suicides.

That, in a way, proved the undoing for Chandrababu as the TDP was voted out of power in 2004.

He also had to weather some political storms, most notably the exit of K Chandrasekhar Rao from the TDP and the launch of Telangana Rashtra Samiti with the only demand for bifurcation of the state.

Naidu had to eventually give-in to the separate state demand and alter the TDP's united AP policy.

In 2009, he would have wrested power from Congress in the then united AP, but for the emergence of actor Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam Party that cut into the anti-incumbency votes and helped Y S Rajasekhara Reddy retain power.

Thus, Chandrababu was relegated to the opposition leader's slot for a second successive term.

He faced the threat of political extinction as nobody gave TDP a chance of returning to power in 2014, post bifurcation of the state, in the face of a serious challenge posed by new entrant YSR Congress on the state's political scene.

The bifurcation came as a blessing in disguise for Naidu as people saw hope only in him as an experienced leader who could recreate the magic and build the new state of AP into a well-developed province.

The 2014 election mandate in AP was decisively in his favour.

Naidu quit the BJP led NDA last year after the latter reneged on its promise of granting Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh.

Out of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, TDP is leading only in three, while in the assembly, out of the 175 seats, TDP is leading in 22 and has won two seats

The YSRC is headed for a landslide victory in the state. 



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