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Why is Chandrababu Naidu Recalling His 1995 Tenure? What Did He Achieve Back Then?

Why is Chandrababu Naidu recalling the 1995 period and his governance then? Because 1995 was a golden period in Naidu's life. After the Telugu Desam Party’s victory in the 1994 elections, the influence of Lakshmi Parvathi in NTR’s life and politics, and Naidu becoming the Chief Minister on September 1, 1995, are well known.

Why is Chandrababu Naidu Recalling His 1995 Tenure? What Did He Achieve Back Then? AJR
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First Published Jul 3, 2024, 12:50 PM IST

-Written By Venugopal Bollampalli | Editor | Asianet News Telugu

During his second term from 1999 to 2004, Chandrababu Naidu implemented various schemes. However, his governance faced opposition due to increasing electricity charges and drought conditions in the state.

According to Kautilya, "For a king to achieve success, to be admired by his people, and to ensure his governance is people-friendly, he must have good critics around him." Let’s set aside Kautilya's words for a moment and focus on the words of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu. He has been in office for almost a month during his fourth term as Chief Minister. Recently, he made a comment that resonated with me. Whether he said it jokingly or not, there is meaning behind it.

At a pension distribution event in Penumaka, Mangalagiri constituency, there was a casual conversation between CM Chandrababu and his son Lokesh. Naidu said, " In this government, you will see the Chief Minister from 1995. We should remember history." And as he said, within 24 hours, he demonstrated it. Despite having thousands of volunteers, the pension distribution under Jagan's administration would only complete about 80% on the first day. However, Chandrababu Naidu sidelined the volunteers and had the pensions distributed by secretariat staff, achieving about 95% distribution in a single day. This reminded me of the movie "Oke okkadu."

Running Officials and Reminding of 1995

Why is Chandrababu Naidu recalling the 1995 period and his governance then? Because 1995 was a golden period in Naidu's life. After the Telugu Desam Party’s victory in the 1994 elections, the influence of Lakshmi Parvathi in NTR’s life and politics, and Naidu becoming the Chief Minister on September 1, 1995, are well known. Some support Naidu’s actions during that time, saying he did the right thing, while others criticize him for backstabbing NTR. Setting aside these opinions, what immediately comes to mind about 1995 Naidu is his knack for keeping officials on their toes.

Naidu: Not Just a Chief Minister, but a CEO

Serving as Chief Minister in 1995 and again in 1999, Chandrababu Naidu managed the state more like a CEO than a traditional Chief Minister. The previous Congress administrations were centered around Delhi and Hyderabad, but Naidu was the first to take governance to the people. He made district-level tours and ensured district administration was active and efficient. At the age of 45 in 1995, Naidu worked for more than 20 hours a day. His focus on governance over a decade led to significant development in united Andhra Pradesh. He now intends to apply the same principles.

What Led to Jagan's Defeat and Naidu's Victory

Naidu is now establishing clear boundaries between the party and the administrative machinery. Recently, when a minister's wife created a fuss with the police, Naidu firmly reprimanded the minister, leading to an apology. This kind of approach helped Naidu become Chief Minister again. Jagan came to power in 2019 with a massive majority, focusing on welfare, similar to his father Rajasekhar Reddy. However, for the divided Andhra Pradesh, holistic development was necessary, which Jagan lagged in. This led people to believe that Naidu, with his brand of development and administrative efficiency, was needed. Consequently, he received an unprecedented majority in the coalition.

Systemic Collapse

Under Jagan's government, the lines between party, government, officials, and people's representatives were blurred. The dominance of volunteers in welfare scheme distribution, the control of MLAs over the administration, and the decline of administrative integrity led to public dissatisfaction. Simple welfare distribution became heavily influenced by volunteers, causing frustration among the common voters. This systemic failure contributed to Jagan's downfall. Naidu aims to restore the administrative integrity, ensuring honest work by government machinery for the benefit of all, which ultimately benefits the party.

Naidu's Governance from 1995 to 2004

Naidu's administration from 1995 to 2004 was marked by bringing governance to the people. Unlike the previous Congress administrations, which were centered in Delhi and Hyderabad, Naidu’s governance was visible at the grassroots level. He personally visited districts, conducted reviews, and ensured that even minor issues reached him promptly. Initiatives like Janmabhoomi Committees and Shramadan were successful, solving local problems through community involvement. Government employees were expected to perform their duties diligently, ensuring smooth governance.

Development of Hyderabad

Naidu played a crucial role in Hyderabad's development, particularly in the IT sector. By attracting IT companies and creating the necessary infrastructure, Hyderabad transformed into an IT hub during his tenure. The visit of then-US President Bill Clinton to Hyderabad highlighted the city’s growth. 

Challenges in Naidu's Second Term

However, Naidu’s second term saw significant challenges. Increased electricity charges and drought conditions led to growing opposition. In August 2000, police firing on protesters against increased electricity charges at Basheerbagh in Hyderabad resulted in three deaths, tarnishing Naidu's government's image. The pressure on employees through teleconferences and inspections led to resentment among the workforce.

By invoking the spirit of 1995, Chandrababu Naidu aims to bring back efficient, people-centric governance and ensure the state’s development through disciplined and honest administration.

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