Chandrababu's Telangana comeback trail outlandish, literally

Chandrababu Naidu is often loathed by his detractors for his outlandish political rhetoric. They claim that the ageing TDP supremo was suffering from 'delusional disorder'

Chandrababus Telangana comeback trail outlandish, literally

HYDERABAD: TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu is often loathed by his detractors for his outlandish political rhetoric. They claim that the ageing TDP supremo was suffering from 'delusional disorder.' Harsh, it would seem, for a man who boasts of a 40-year-long history in Telugu politics, dotted with a 14-year stint as chief minister.

But, more often than not, Naidu himself provides the cannon-fodder in the first place for his rivals to tear into him. He claims he was the man responsible for Hyderabad development; he was the one who brought IT firms to Hyderabad; he would uninhibitedly proclaim that his party grew in strength despite the drubbing in the recent local body elections in AP; he would even find fault with the YSRCP men in Andhra Pradesh for using the roads that 'he laid' in the state…! His jaw-dropping statements, which assumed legendary proportions invoking rebuke and derision, are one too many.

The best part is, the TDP chief remains unperturbed by the fallout of his comments and comes up with more such stuff every now and then. Last week, Chandrababu Naidu was at it again during his visit to the flood-hit areas of the Khammam district in Telangana.

Addressing his 'Telugu Thammullu' (brethren of his party), Naidu left everyone bewildered when he said that the TDP had been receiving amazing response from the public in Telangana and asked his 'soldiers' to gear up for the elections. Significantly, his poll clarion call comes at a time when the TDP is nowhere sighted on the Telangana political landscape.

The BJP, with its recent successes in a few by-elections and the Congress party hoping to revive its fortunes under Revanth Reddy are the apparent rivals for the ruling TRS in the state. YS Sharmila's YSRTP too is trying hard to jostle for space in between the heavyweights.

Buoyed by his recent tour of the flood-hit areas in the East and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh, Naidu came calling on Khammam and Bhadrachalam in Telangana to meet the flood victims there. He spoke at length on how Khammam had always remained a fortress for the TDP and how significant was Telangana to it as its birthplace.

Then, he swung into his usual 'I'm the creator' mode and tried to impress upon the gathering that it was his pioneering efforts that laid the foundation for all the excellent employment and growth opportunities in the state. At one stage, he got so carried away that he spoke of an amazing public response to the party and in the same breath, he wanted his cadre to be prepared for elections. He even proclaimed that the TDP would hold a mammoth public meeting in Khammam in the second week of September.

This has only sparked a fresh wave of ridicule on the social media with netizens calling out Naidu for being overzealous. They wondered if the TDP chief was only playing yet another comic act by sounding the poll bugle in a state where he virtually has no political stakes.

Breathes and eats politics, in his inimitable style

Chandrababu's statements may seem bizarre in the public domain but those who had seen him from closer quarters vouch for the fact that it is not easy to get to the depths of his political designs. Known to be a tough nut to crack, he tries to stay afloat with an 'all is well' song even if his boat is sinking.

Political observers feel that, like YS Jagan, Naidu too is getting into the poll mode and that he is only countering his rival's moves by amplifying the political heat. But why did he choose Telangana as the setting instead of Andhra Pradesh where the TDP will be fighting a critical electoral battle in 2024? It is being perceived that this could be part of Naidu's mind game wherein he wants to keep his AP cadre pumped up by boasting of a ground-swell for the party in Telangana.

It is a known fact that the TDP rank and file is in a dispirited state in Andhra Pradesh especially after the spate of local elections where the party was steamrolled by the ruling YSRCP. To add to its misery, YSRCP chief and Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is making no bones of his intentions to win all the 175 seats, come 2024. One is not sure if YS Jagan means this by heart but it certainly added to the YSRCP's image in public while simultaneously projecting the TDP as a party on its last hurrah.

Naidu's latest claims on his Telangana leg of flood-hit area visits should only be seen in this particular light. More than causing flutters in Telangana politics, Naidu could be merely firing a neutralizing missile to minimize the damage from YS Jagan's 'win-all-175-seats' salvo.

Political observers also cite the timing of Naidu's recent district tours in Andhra Pradesh where he displayed similar resilience. He went on a whirlwind tour of some AP districts and managed to grab the limelight at a time when YS Jagan's 'Gadapa Gadapaku' initiative should have hogged all of it. If Chandrababu ensured a prominent distraction for the people from the 'Gadapa Gadapaku' programme, his friendly media showed its chivalry by highlighting all stray incidents of resistance to the YSRCP programme, thereby robbing the ruling party of a full-scale mileage.

So next time Chandrababu Naidu asks his cadre to be battle-ready for polls in Telangana, assume that he is only playing his cards with his gaze firmly fixed towards Andhra Pradesh!

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