VIJAYAWADA: Participating in the ‘Athmiya Abhinandana’ programme organised in Vijayawada on Thursday to mark his maiden visit to the city after getting elected to the Rajya Sabha for the fourth consecutive time, Venkaiah Naidu said even before those critics were even born, he got elected directly to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly twice in spite of stiff competition.
“In 1979, when Congress had swept the elections, I was the only one who got elected from Opposition and again in 1983, when TDP had swept the polls, I had won the election. Thereafter, having dedicated myself for the expansion of the party, I have decided not to contest direct elections. Having represented Karnataka in Rajya Sabha for three times, people and leaders there, save a few on the social media, wanted me to get re-elected from that state. In fact, I was against contesting the election, but on the direction of the party leaders and to lend support to the Modi Sarkar, I obliged, contested from Rajasthan and won the elections,” he said.
In his more than half-hour speech, Venkaiah Naidu in his inimitable style recounted his political journey that commenced as a student union leader in VR College of Nellore district. He laughed out at those critics, who said he was acting chummy with Chandrababu Naidu aspiring Rajya Sabha seat. “I have been a president of a national party and how can anyone expect me to take help of other party to get elected to Parliament,” he said.
Commenting on the some of the new politicians, he described them as instant politicians like instant noodles, lacking substance. He said for a political career, ideology is important and ‘service to people’ should be above all else. “It is calibre, capability, confidence that matters and not religion, region, language, caste,” he said while making it clear that he does not wanted to be ‘confined’ to region, but should be treated as Indian first.
He advised the Chief Minister not to go for concentrated development like in Hyderabad in the reorganised AP, but focus on decentralised development, which is what people are expecting from him this time. Recalling his Vijayawada connection, he said Vijaywada is an important integral part of his political life, as he had spent most his student leader days during ‘Jai Andhra’ movement in Vijayawada both active and underground. He said it was here that he got arrested twice during Jai Andhra movement and then again during Emergency.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his cabinet colleagues showered praise on Venkaiah Naidu describing him as an epitome of a good politics. Naidu recalled his association with Venkaiah since late 70s, when he started his political career. He said here is a person, who has a legacy that is remembered forever.