AA Edit | Andhra hopes high as Naidu starts record 4th term as CM

Nara Chandrababu Naidu starts his record fourth term as AP CM, aiming to rejuvenate the state's economy, infrastructure, and development

Update: 2024-06-12 18:30 GMT
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-designate N. Chandrababu Naidu and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan during the swearing-in ceremony of Naidu, in Vijayawada. (Image: PTI)

After one of the biggest electoral triumphs of his life, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, chief of the Telugu Desam Party, is set to begin a record fourth term as chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. And with his return to power, hopes are sky high in the beleaguered state, marked with little to no development, investment, job creation or infrastructure upgrade for the last five years or more.

After taking oath on Wednesday in the presence of political and cultural bigwigs, including his NDA partners, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah, Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and J.P. Nadda, and former vice-president of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, besides a galaxy of film stars including Tamil superstar Rajinikanth, and Telugu megastar K. Chiranjeevi, whose younger brother and Tollywood power star K. Pawan Kalyan is the boss of the Jana Sena Party, a crucial NDA ally, and a minister in the new Andhra Pradesh Cabinet, chief minister Chandrababu Naidu is all set to hit the ground running.

He is also the all-time longest serving Telugu CM, with the intense pressure of high expectations of over five crore people of Andhra Pradesh upon him. They would expect miracles from the former CEO of Andhra Pradesh, Inc., as he was called during his first two terms as CM of united AP, with a fair claim of having re-imagined and recreated Brand Cyberabad.

Mr Chandrababu Naidu, whose business friendly policies, proactive push to build Hyderabad into a global destination for software and pharma investments and rapid push for infrastructure-building during his first stint of nine years over two terms as CM of united AP between 1995 and 2004, was the first state CM and regional party leader to create a space in the post-liberalisation phase of Indian democracy to pursue economic reforms and investments-to-jobs creation as good politics. But he also suffered politically for his work.

Accused of ignoring rural and agrarian distress through the largely drought-prone stint, even as he brought Microsoft and Bill Gates to invest in their first-ever development centre outside the United States, as well as a plethora of other major software corporations, Mr Naidu was sent into a decade outside power, leaving the NDA. He remained in hibernation, between 2004 and 2014, during which time, his state was bifurcated into Telangana and AP, and the residual Andhra state had to lose Hyderabad.

Promising a more balanced tenure when he came to power as an NDA partner, backed by the electoral charisma of the then prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, and Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, Mr Naidu wished to put all his eggs in the basket of a new, greenfield capital of Amaravati, and yet again, lost power badly in 2019 to YSRC chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

A tenacious fighter with a never give-up attitude, Mr Chandrababu Naidu, suffering charges of insider trading and corruption, was then sent to prison by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government, but he came back, yet again, into the NDA fold and tasted exceptional electoral success.
In his fourth term, he will face several challenges, including rebuilding the infrastructure and financial health of his state, now tottering without its own capital for a decade, and having suffered a huge partisan divide as its new social reality. But the people of Andhra Pradesh have faith, reflected in the mandate they gave, that if anyone can turn things around, it is Nara Chandrababu Naidu who is equal to the task.

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