Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the first chief minister of residuary Andhra Pradesh, is off to a good start, politically and otherwise. By inducting young faces into his cabinet, he has given the much-needed change of avatar to a 30-year-old party struggling to provide freshness. The grand show that he made of his swearing-in with top BJP leaders in attendance was a morale booster that people of Andhra-Rayalaseema needed, burdened as they were by a feeling of having been let down by the UPA during the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The mandate that Naidu secured to rule the residuary state was on account of varied concerns of the populace—loss of surpluses from Telangana, river water for Krishna delta in Rayalaseema and educational and employment opportunities in Hyderabad. Now that the romance of Telugu unity is a thing of the past, it is important that the “enterprising” people of Andhra get the reassurance of governmental backing. And this, they did get with Naidu and BJP leaders promising all-out efforts to place the new state on the path of growth. Though Naidu is grappling with the question of keeping up his `80,000 crore farm loan waiver promise, he got down to the task of ensuring 24/7 power supply and dialling businessmen settled in other states to relocate to Seemandhra.
The 900km quadrilateral along a railway line and a coastline which already has four ports plus tax concessions offer great scope for industrialisation. This potential was never realised as long as the state was united with development largely limited to Hyderabad. While not many seem to doubt Andhra’s prospects, the only concern that remains is how this region and the drought-prone Rayalaseema would manage to live together without the balancing and calming effect of Telangana and its quiet politics. It is therefore important that Naidu pays equal attention to Rayalaseema in his overall plans. Else, it won’t be long before another agitation, this time in Rayalaseema, impairs the future of the residuary state.