24 January, 2021

Chalo Hyderabad

While Naidu was flying high in choppers, YSR walked from home to home in rural Andhra. It has paid off.

Chalo Hyderabad
When he kicked off the Congress campaign last summer, much before elections were even announced, many saw it as a hopeless cause. What match was Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy or YSR—the rough-hewn 'street fighter' from Rayalaseema—for Chandrababu Naidu, the champion of laptop federalism and ace manager? Most pundits predicted that the TDP chief would overcome anti-incumbency and romp home for a third term in office. 'Remember 1999?' was the constant refrain from the Naidu camp. That time the pollsters had said the TDP was on its way out. But the party had returned to power with a handsome margin.

Election 2004 offered a radical inversion to that last edition. Rajasekhara Reddy, 54, the new chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, finally showed why his followers call him the Cuddapah Tiger. The strongman from the outback had his claws out for friend-turned-foe Chandrababu Naidu for several years now but was often dismissed as a dissident leader even by his own partymen. He has however proved to be the man of the moment, turning around the beleaguered Congress single-handedly. Right...


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