HYDERABAD: Just six months after assuming office, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is earning his party men’s wrath for his alleged inclination towards businessmen-turned-politicians in the party.
In his latest chief ministerial stint, the TDP chief appears to be promoting industrialists, who are understood to have funded the party during its bad times. It is an ‘open secret’ that Naidu is favouring these new breed of politicos for financial assistance.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President N Raghuveera Reddy said Naidu had been acting like a real estate broker while constructing the new capital city. Disapproving of the chief minister’s decision to acquire fertile lands for the new capital, Reddy said, “Some of the industrialists in his party along with Singapore industrialists had provided funds to TDP during elections. Hence, Naidu is trying to pay them back for the help he had received.”
Seniors in the state cabinet such as K E Krishnamurthy and Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu are understood to be unhappy over Naidu’s choice of confidants.
Political novice and TDP’s first-time MP Kesineni Srinivas alias Nani virtually challenged the supremacy of Naidu by directly attacking the chief minister’s pet and Irrigation Minister Devineni Uma Maheswara Rao. “There is no coordination between ministers and officials on any issue,” said Nani. He made these remarks during a programme in Vijayawada on Friday where Uma and Municipal Administration Minister P Narayana, who is considered to be another blue-eyed boy of Naidu, were present.
A few months ago and before the finalisation of the location for Andhra Pradesh’s new capital, Krishnamurthy had openly expressed his dissatisfaction over the way Narayana was making a pitch for setting up the new capital near Vijayawada. He had also opted out of the cabinet sub-committee on land pooling, even though he holds the revenue portfolio when the panel was set up, only to express his dissatisfaction towards Narayana’s growing influence in the party.
Naidu had inducted Narayana, who runs Narayana Group of Educational Institutions across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, into his cabinet even though the corporate educationalist was not a member of either of the Houses in the Assembly at that time. He was made an MLC subsequently.
Narayana is now considered by many as the second-in-command in the state government. He is heading the capital advisory panel, which is overseeing the activities of planning and construction of the new capital city.
Another example of Naidu’s such inclination is Ganta Srinivasa Rao. Even though Rao had earlier changed several political parties and was minister in erstwhile N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Congress government, the TDP chief appointed him as the human resource and development minister. Rao is the managing director of Visakhapatnam-based Prathyusha Group of Companies with interests in shipping, mining, exports and imports, aqua culture, infrastructure, real estate, power and education.
Y Satyanarayana Chowdary alias Sujana Chowdary, another industrialist, of late is playing key role in the TDP. He heads the Resources Management Committee of the state government for pooling financial resources for Andhra Pradesh. With Naidu’s blessings, Chowdary is now Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences. Contractor-turned-politician C M Ramesh, who is the founder chairman of a company with `1,000-crore turnover, is also a ‘brain truster’ for the TDP chief and was rewarded with Rajya Sabha membership.
Another trusted lieutenant of the chief minister is Garikapati Mohana Rao, an entrepreneur-turned-Rajya Sabha member who owns firms which have interests in engineering and power sector. Kambhampati Rammohana Rao, who owns a network of car showrooms in the state, is looking after the party affairs at national level.
Similarly, film actor-turned-MP M Muralimohan, who is the chairman of Jayabheri Group, which is into construction and real estate business, is another confidant of Naidu. Tobacco baron-turned-MP Rayapati Sambasiva and managing director of a manufacturer of automotive batteries Jaydev Galla are also said to be in Naidu’s good books.
Naidu’s special treatment to businessmen in the party appears to be making the seniors feel that they are being neglected by their leader. Newly inducted Telangana minister Talasani Srinivsa Yadav, who had joined the TRS from the TDP recently, said, “While the Telengana chief minister said the people were gods and the society was his temple, Naidu feels that contractor is God and business is temple for him.”