HYDERABAD: Even as some of the members of the family of TDP founder NT Rama Rao are raising their eyebrows on the alleged efforts of Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu to promote his son Lokesh in the party affairs, Naidu’s ministerial colleague Prathipati Pulla Rao on Wednesday further ruffled a few feathers in NTR’s clan.
The agriculture minister, who has been on the binge of singing paeans to Lokesh for the past few days, probably to win a few brownie points with his boss, said Lokesh fits the bill to be chief minister of AP.
“Lokesh will succeed Naidu as chief minister. Nobody can dispute the fact that Lokesh has got all the abilities to ascend the throne,” Pulla Rao said.
What is the immediate reason for the trusted lieutenant of Naidu to praise the abilities of Lokesh?
Talking with mediapersons here over the achievements of his department in the 100-day rule of the government, Pulla Rao put the blame for the inordinate delay in implementing the crop loan waiver scheme on the Reserve Bank and the central government.
“RBI and various banks are not cooperating with us on loan waiver. Yet, our government is committed to implement the scheme,” he claimed.
Asked about the government’s plans to issue security bonds to farmers or banks in lieu of hard cash, he said the government was considering various options including issuance of security bonds.
“We are planning to set up a farmers’ welfare corporation to mobilise funds for loan waiver. By pledging the assets of the corporation with banks, we plan to mobilise funds,” he disclosed and said that the entire process of repaying farmers/banks might take ten years.
Asked if the present government would not be passing on the financial burden to the next governments by doing so, Pulla Rao retorted: “The TDP will remain in power in AP for the next 20 years.” And, in the same breath, he blurted out: “During those 20 years Lokesh will step into his father’s shoes and become CM.”
Pulla Rao has, of late, been in the practice of portraying Lokesh as the second-in-command of the ruling TDP. “If YS Jagan Mohan Reddy could step into his father’s shoes, why not our Lokesh Babu? We want Lokesh to play a key role in our party henceforth.”
A section of leaders in the party, during private talks with journalists, say that Naidu is letting some ministers like Pulla Rao promote Lokesh as the next boss of the party to set the stage for his son to play a bigger role in the party.