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CEO Naidu Acquires Andhra Pradesh and Central Corner Office

From student leader to chief minister, from kingmaker to political exile, N. Chandrababu Naidu’s political journey has been as tumultuous as it has been storied. At 74, the tech-savvy “CEO” has seen it all, and his latest triumph in Andhra Pradesh must be the sweetest yet.

Following his victory in the 2019 assembly polls, Naidu faced attempts by Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and the YSRCP to diminish his stature, trying to confine him to a leader of the Kamma community. However, in the past year, Naidu not only broke free from these constraints but also forged an alliance with the BJP and actor Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena, creating a formidable caste alliance against the YSRCP.

While Naidu would prefer to reclaim the role of Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister, he is poised to once again become a kingmaker at the Centre, commanding 16 Lok Sabha seats. His influence on central governments waned after the UPA’s ascent in 2004 and Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s Congress victory in united Andhra Pradesh. It took Naidu two terms in oblivion before he reclaimed power in 2014.

Much like former President Pranab Mukherjee, often dubbed the ‘best prime minister India never had,’ Naidu is seen as one of the most tech-savvy PMs India never had. While Mukherjee aspired for the PM’s role, Naidu declined it in 1996.

Naidu’s political acumen was evident during his tenure as convener of the United Front (1996-98) and the NDA (1999-2004), where he played a pivotal role in selecting PM candidates and coalition presidents. However, with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh leaving him with just 25 MP seats (down from 42), and the BJP securing a majority in 2014, Naidu’s ability to influence the Union government diminished.

His vision for a world-class capital city in Amaravati to rival Hyderabad could not materialize, leading to the TDP’s defeat in the 2019 polls, reducing it to just three MPs and 23 MLAs. As he returns as CM, Naidu faces the daunting task of funding the numerous welfare schemes initiated by Jagan, worth around Rs 2.7 lakh crore, while also reviving investor interest in Amaravati.

Despite the challenges ahead, Naidu’s legacy of good governance and tech-driven policies in Hyderabad stand as a testament to his leadership, making him a pivotal figure in Indian politics.

Sadhna B

Sadhna B

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