Telugu Desam Party supremo Chandrababu Naidu addressed an election meeting in Visakhapatnam on Sunday, accompanied by West Bengal chief minister Mamatha Benerji and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. It was the second campaign for Kejriwal in support of the TDP chief, while it was the first for Mamatha Benerji. Chandrababu Naidu had tried for Karnataka chief minister Kumaraswamy to campaign for him, but it did not work as the JDS chief was tied-up in electioneering in his home state.
This is the first election for Chandrababu Naidu to go alone after he took over the party from its founder late N T Rama Rao in August 1995. Naidu had the company of the Left parties in 1998 and had the BJP’s support in 2002, BJP , Left and TRS support in 2004, 2009 and BJP and Jana Sena alliance in 2014. The election is crucial for him for several reasons and the most important is his plans to promote his son in this term as his successor. It is this task that keeps Naidu look for every help in this election.
The TDP chief is banking on the support that he gets from the national leaders and believes that the presence of national leaders would give him an edge over his rival Jaganmohan Reddy. It is for this reason, he is bringing in some of the non-BJP and non-Congress leaders to the State to campaign for him. Besides this campaign, Naidu had lined up series of financial benefits to the people this week. On April 1, the aged, widows and disabled would get their monthly pensions, which were revised to Rs 2000 for the aged and widows and Rs 3000 for the disabled. This would follow payment of Rs 4,000 to the women of the self-help groups on April 5 under Pasupu-Kunkuma. This would be the third and final instalment of the total Rs 10,000 that was promised to the 93 lakh women in the State.
There is another payment of Rs 50,000 to the farmers under the loan waiver. This amount, part of the fourth and fifth instalment of the loan waiver, would be paid to the farmers on April 8. The government had paid the third instalment in 2017 and now the fourth and fifth instalments are to be paid. With this huge money coming from the government this week as the voters prepare for April 11 polling, the TDP chief believes that this money would help him retain the power. The TDP leaders are also hoping that this money paid a few days ahead of the polling will give them votes to sit back in the treasury benches.
However, it is to be seen if this money would give the required votes to the TDP or not.