Sep 21, 2023
Sep 21, 2023
A quick bird's eye-view by a commoner
The arrest of N Chandra Babu Naidu, the former chief minister of the new Andhra Pradesh and supremo of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) by the state’s Crime Investigation Department (APCID) for his alleged role in the scam of (?) 371 crore in the AP State Skill Development Corporation (APSSDC) on Sep 9, 2023 has been hogging the limelight. And the special court of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) remanded him in a 14-day judicial custody from 10 Sep 2023. The largest circulated Telugu daily Eenadu, which despite its claims to professional journalism is always a pro-TDP paper with no critical article – and not even a cartoon against Naidu – is using up most of its space for this development trying to project him as a great hero. It’s also trying its best to show that the entire population of AP is up in arms in his favour. Curiously, the Margadarsi Chit Funds Pvt Ltd owned by the Eenadu group is itself neck-deep in trouble for the alleged financial irregularities and falsifying its records.
But a welcome contrast comes from the objective editorial observation by The New Indian Express (Sep 11, 2023) “No doubt the TDP is seething with rage, but public sympathy is not assured.” The editorial hits the nail on the head with its rightly worded caption “Isolated Naidu faces toughest challenge yet.” The editorial goes on: “The case pertains to the alleged siphoning of ? 371 crore through shell companies under the pretext of opening clusters of excellence and skill development institutions. The GST, ED and CID have been probing the web of transactions for over two years. Going by the remand report, it appears there is evidence of Naidu violating the rules when he was CM during 2014-19. The CID claims the end beneficiaries were the TDO and its chief.”
On Tuesday, 12 Sep 2023 Chandrababu Naidu pleaded for house arrest instead of being incarcerated in the Rajamahendravaram Central Prison on the ground that he would otherwise be amidst Maoists and anti-social elements in the prison! Opposing the plea, Assistant Advocate General Ponnavolu Sudhakara Reddy righty questioned, “if Gods and saints should be lodged in prisons, instead.” The 73-year-old Naidu then quoted his sudden “health” issues who until then had proclaimed that he would fight the YSRCP government tooth and nail with all his might and indulgently soaked in his inflated aggrandisement by his party’s rank and file. But the judge of the ACB Special Court, BSV Hima Bindu, rejected Naidu’s appeal and pronounced that he would be safer in the jail that had been converted into a fortress by sanitisation, round-the-clock surveillance, and medical facilities. If he, a Z-plus category protectee, were to be under house arrest, “who would be responsible, if something were to happen to him while he is under house arrest.”
In light of this, let me as a common citizen with an interest in public affairs share my perceptions.
If N Chandrababu Naidu today is not evoking any significant sympathy and stands isolated and has fallen like a Humpty-Dumpty, it is only due to a chain of his hamartias.
(1) Originally a Congress party activist and continuing so even during the draconian Emergency regime of Indira Gandhi with no prick of conscience, and later on an MLA and Minister in the AP Congress government – Naidu challenged that he was ready to take on NTR (who founded the TDP in 1982 against the opportunistic and corrupt Congress) if the Congress high command decided so. Though he was not pitted against NTR, he still contested as a Congress candidate from the Chandragiri assembly constituency in 1983 and lost it by 17429 votes. Later on, joining the TDP, he had no prick of conscience in usurping the party and this betrayal led to NTR’s death. From then on, he changed his constituency to Kuppam.
(2) When the widowed 70-year-old NT Rama Rao – who was neglected by his sons who only wanted to encash his fame and wealth – married the divorcee Lakshmi Parvati, a Telugu litterateur – not out of lust but with Platonic love in 1993, his family under provocation by Chandrababu Naidu raised a hue and cry against the marriage, as if NTR didn’t have any right, and practically ostracised him by kicking out Lakshmi Parvati. The cumulative distress caused NTR’s death in 1996.
(3) Naidu’s TDP was an ally of the BJP-led NDA during Vajpayee’s time; he resorted to unnecessary criticism of the NDA government quite a few times.
(4) Naidu, who was targeted in the Alipiri bomb-blast (Oct 1, 2003) but fortunately wasn’t hurt, he urged Vajpayee to advance the elections for the Lok Sabha to be held along with the AP assembly elections imagining that he (Naidu) could reap a sympathy wave, but the sympathy ended in a miserable defeat.
(5) After some time, Naidu quit the NDA alliance and immediately held a meeting with the Muslims assuring them that he would never be an ally of the BJP. This farcical drama he was to enact another time as well in the future.
(6) In the undivided AP when the separate Telangana movement led by KCR was gaining momentum, Naidu allied his TDP with KCR’s TRS in the 2009 elections.
(7) Again, Naidu’s TDP entered into an alliance with BJP in 2014 and won the assembly elections post-bifurcation. He declared Amaravati as the sole capital of the new state without drawing any lesson from the excessive centralisation of development in Hyderabad in the undivided AP. And he clandestinely decided upon Amaravati as capital without taking the other parties into confidence. It’s said that he and his cohorts amassed large chunks of properties in the would-be capital region.
(8) And, unnecessarily, he bought off the YSRCP MLAs though the TDP-BJP alliance had a comfortable majority. Unnerved and outraged, Jagan had his remaining MLAs boycotted the Assembly for a year and then resigned en masse from it. The party supremo Jagan Mohan Reddy marched across the state holding countless rallies exposing the questionable ways of Naidu and became invincibly popular with the masses – and it resulted in the ignominious rout of the TDP in the next elections (2019).
(9) Prior to this, Naidu’s TDP MPs resorted to abusive language against the NDA government in the parliament in the no-confidence motion they raised, whereas the YSRCP MPs were always rational and civilised in their conduct, whatever may be the faults of their party otherwise. The issue was about Special Status to the new AP. The central government clarified that it was not possible due to technical reasons and they had instead offered a Special Package which would serve the intended purpose. The TDP government readily agreed to it by way of a resolution in the Assembly but later on Naidu changed his stand like a chameleon just to try to outsmart the Jagan-led YSRCP’s undivided focus on the demand for Special Status. Naidu was duly warned by the BJP leadership against falling into this trap but he paid a deaf ear.
(10) The said no-confidence motion collapsed like a pack of cards, and Naidu walked out of the NDA alliance for a second time. Much worse, he joined hands with the same Congress against which NTR had founded the TDP. Invited or uninvited, he gallivanted around the country claiming himself to be the seniormost leader in the country and king-maker, and resorted to hateful mudslinging against the BJP and its leadership.
(11) Seeing himself isolated, the opportunistic Naidu again began befriending the BJP behind closed doors.
(12) Right from the beginning, Naidu is egoistic, narcissistic and megalomaniac. He ascribes everything to his own persona and not to his party or collective wisdom. He always says, “I did this, I did that.” He never says, “Our government has done this; our party has decided this.” He made tall claims that it was he who brought out all the development in Hyderabad; but in the immediately following elections (2004), his party bit the dust by not winning even a single seat in Hyderabad.
(13) A person who studies history in a college or university is not a historian but only a scholar unless they have scripted well-researched history books. Likewise, a student of economics can’t brandish himself as an economist. But Naidu, a student of MA (Economics) trumpeted that he was an economist – though he has no book to his credit on the subject.
(14) Naidu is dynastically possessive and has declared his son Lokesh as his successor, though the latter lacks in leadership qualities and had miserably lost the election in his chosen assembly constituency Mangalagiri (2019). He had been made a minister for Panchayat Raj, Rural development, and IT & Communication (a la KCR of TRS who made his son KTR a minister, but KTR won as an MLA in Telangana) through the backdoor by making him an MLC. Though there are many competent leaders in the party, Naidu doesn’t believe any of them. Naidu’s egotism forced Harikrishna into forming his own party – Anna Telugu Desam Party (ATP) in 1999. The arrogance of Naidu pushed his co-brother Daggubati Venkateswara Rao to quit the TDP, flirt with BJP for sometime as its AP vice president, later on join his brother-in-law Harikrishna’s ATP, and much later hop into the YSRCP in 2019. It’s a different matter that Dr Venkateswara Rao, husband of NTR’s daughter Purandeswari – currently the president of AP BJP, has been a fickle-minded politician.
(15) NTR founded the TDP out of his genuine and positive passion for the Telugu language & culture coupled with a nationalistic spirit. But Naidu has no genuine love for such ethos. That’s why he could never quote any Telugu poem or creative piece in any of his speeches, while it was second nature for NTR to do so.
(16) Naidu has never recalled any of his gurus or honoured them unlike KCR his Telangana counterpart.
(17) He has never mentioned any school or college friend or dear friend—for he has no friends.
(18) He is highly narcissistic. Even in the devotional/religious gatherings/temples – he brushes aside all the etiquette, looks around, and shows up his index and middle fingers in the “V” sign as if he is always – and should always be – the undivided centre of attraction whatever the type of gathering.
(19) Naidu’s obstinate opposition to the new AP’s decentralisation of development – with the legislative houses remaining in Amaravati, with the beautiful & cosmopolitan Visakhapatnam as the capital, and with Kurnool having the High Court—is unwanted, for all of us have seen the fallout of the exclusive centralisation of everything in and around Hyderabad in the undivided AP.
(20) Naidu’s venality has led to his arrest, and it can’t be projected as political vindictiveness for he has always the option of knocking at the judicial doors. So, it would be an over-cliched complaint to try to show it as vindictiveness. Let him and his party answer the points of his unaccounted income directly through the shell companies. Contrast this with Narendra Modi’s and Amit Shah’s equanimity. When they were foisted with a heap of cases by the UPA government – with Shah even banished from Gujarat – they didn’t make any fuss about it or play the victim card but coolly honoured every summon – and finally both of them were given a clean chit.
(21) Chandrababu Naidu, hailing from a small farming family, has become a billionaire. So also, KCR, the supremo of TRS/BRS cum Chief Minister of Telangana, though richer, claims a huge lot of income from his farming. But neither of them ever reveals their secret of the ways and means to such incredible harvest – to anyone, and least of all to the small farmers!
(22) The leading Telugu daily Eenadu – besides the Andhra Jyothy – always behaving like a TDP organ – has been devoting almost all of its space only to the Naidu incident as if the rest of the news is not that important and trying to arouse the people’s sentiments by making them believe that heavens have fallen down, and that the entire people of AP are up against Chandrababu Naidu’s arrest. But this hyperbolic drumming-up wouldn’t save the position for their hero Naidu.
More by : U Atreya Sarma
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He is a big blot to TDP and the great NTR