"Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision" - Ayn Rand
Nara Chandrababu Naidu, who is often referred to as Babu by locals and Mr. Naidu by others, is one of the few dynamic politicians that not just Andhra Pradesh, but India ever witnessed.
He might have seen ups and downs, failures in the past, but his commitment and vision still enable him to move ahead surpassing all difficulties that politics offered him. And bit by venomous political snakes, Babu slipped off his chief minister post.
When Bangalore was the only destination for IT jobs, when the Garden City proudly labeled itself as IT capital of India, it was Chandrababu Naidu who literally changed the look and outlook of the Nawabi City by making it Hitech and dragging the intellectuals in IT field from Bangalore to Hyderabad.
A walk through the Hitec City in Hyderabad would give a clear picture of Babu’s vision.
Born in a remote village Narevari Palli in Chittoor district on 20 April 1950, Chandrababu Naidu never thought his struggle for an education and continous ideas that flashed in his mind time and again would one day change the fate of the state.
Not even his parents, who struggled hard to get the daily bread, knew that Chandrababu Naidu was a personification of vision.
The young Babu used to walk up barefoot more than a kilometer to learn the ABCD of Telugu language. Since there was no elementary school in his remote village, Chandrababu Naidu made a tough walk to school his daily affair despite his tender legs urging him to halt and burning stomach asking him for food.
His love for education made him get not just Bachelor of Arts but even a Master of Arts degree in Economics from the prestigious Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati in 1974.
He has even enrolled into a Ph. D degree, but the deteriorating politics and problems faced by the people, literally forced him to give up his desire for doctorate and brought him close to the hearts of the public. And the birth of true leader took place!
Entry into politics:
Shifting his mind from college level politics to active politics, Chandrababu Naidu was successful in winning people’s hearts in the area where he resided. He joined the Congress league and was appointed as Pulicherla Youth Congress President and his commitment towards the party impressed the son of the former prime minister Sanjay Gandhi, who brought him close to him.
1978 remains as a crucial year in Chandrababu’s political episode as he got the seat for assembly elections from Congress party and became MLA for the first time. He was soon inducted into Anjaiah’s cabinet that made him youngest minister and at the age of just 28 years.
When Babu was the Minister of State for Cinematography he got in touch with legendary actor late N T Rama Rao, who was said to be impressed with dynamism of Chandrababu Naidu.
NTR’s family proposed their wish of getting NTR’s daughter Bhuvaneshwari married to him. Babu accepted the proposal and tied nuptial knots to Bhuvaneshwari amidst a gathering of talent and glamour in Madras.
His father-in-law N T Rama Rao soon started Telugu Desam Party (first regional political party in AP) on the note that Telugus interests had been mortgaged by the Congress. NTR invited all the top politicians who are for the cause to join TDP including Chandrababu Naidu, but the Congress fan Babu was reluctant to join TDP and continued his stay with Congress. Later, he changed his decision and joined the TDP after he was defeated by TDP post independence.
Stint in TDP:
Chandrababu Naidu, after joining the TDP, was almost like the right hand to his father-in-law. He was made the general secretary of the party and sketched unique strategies that kept the party moving despite the huge criticism from the opposition Congress. He even played a pivotal role by taking all party MLAs to Rashtrapati Bhavan in Delhi and helped NTR in getting back to power. It has to be mentioned that the then state finance minister Nadendla Bhaskara Rao backstabbed NTR-when NTR was in US undergoing heart surgery-by forming the government with the help of opposition party. After Nadendla’s episode, Babu became a key member of the party.
Key member of TDP:
Chandrababu Naidu, after Nadendla’s backstab, was reportedly forming his own group in TDP. He became a finance minister and revenue minister of NTR cabinet in 1994.
In August, 1995—what was termed as the bad year to NTR—internal revolution in TDP took place. Chandrababu Naidu turned majority of party members to his side and became the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh for the first time. He even had the support of NTR’s family members as he said that he had to take that step to save the party from the clutches of widow of NTR, Lakshmi Parvathy.
NTR, however, gave many television interviews as to how he trusted Babu and how he got backstabbed by him. Although NTR too out chaitanya ratham (chariot to motivate people against the odds in the city) he was unable to come back to power. NTR suffered a heart attack and died in January 1996. Chandrababu Naidu, however, continues to use NTR’s photo and offer garlands to him reiterating that revolt agains NTR was to save the party.
Opposition party leader:
Chandrababu Naidu served the state as the chief minister for nine years and since 2004, he’s been the leader of the opposition. It is the first time that an individual to be as the opposition leader for more than eight years and fight the burning issues of the state without forgetting the hope that people of the state had on him.
Chandrababu Naidu has always been the favourite politician to many Indians who often speak out his name during debates on favourite politicians.
Although Chandrababu Naidu became the chief minister in controversial situation, he managed to win the hearts of people by introducing several developmental programmes and he was elected as the chief minister by the public in 1999. He was the only chief minister to move in public freely. He even used to board the busy city buses to enquire the problems of women. When cities like Bangalore and Madras became care of address for white collar jobs, Chandrababu Naidu took efforts for setting up HITEC-Hyderabad Information Technology Engineering Consultancy City-sprawled across 150 acres in 1998. He even appealed the World Bank to sanction loans for his developmental projects.
Besides booming IT field in the state, Chandrababu Naidu never looked behind the rural areas. He undertook Janmabhoomi programme that asked people to come together to evelope their villages on their own. There were many towns that got roads and other facilities because of Janmabhoomi programme. He, however, faced lot of criticism from government employees-who were asked to take part in Janmabhoomi programme.
It’s no exaggeration to state that Chandrababu Naidu is among those very few personalities from India liked by the best. Many magazines in foreign countries stated him as the hitec chief minister. The then president of US Bill Clinton visited Hyderabad. Even the UK prime minister Tony Blair visited Hyderabad to have a look at the hitec activities in the state. India Today termed him as ‘IT Indian of the Millenium,’ while a monthly magazine from US, Oracle described Babu as one of the hidden seven working wonders of the world.
With such a great history and vision that had been hailed by west countries, Chandrababu Naidu reportedly ignored the farmers by concentrating more on IT, sports and urban development. The Congress that found this point and disappoint from farmers completely turned majority of farmers in the state to its side and came to power in 2004 making tall promises including free electricity to the poor.
It has to be mentioned here that not just in terms of IT and development, but even sports got maximum attention from Chandrababu Naidu government. He was responsible for bringing National Games and first Afro-Asian Games to Hyderabad. He even worked hard to bring Formula One (F1) race to Hyderabad, but all his dreams of making Hyderabad an international city were shattered abruptly with his defeat in 2004.
Today there would not be a single engineer and IT consultant who don’t think of Chandrababu Naidu for making their lives so sophisticated. And we hope the Nawabi City that lost its charm after Naidu stepped down from power will regain the real colours at least in 2014. We wish Chandrababu Naidu all the best on his 63rd birthday today and hope that he comes to power in 2014 to make the state Swarnandhra Pradesh. (Phani)