Andhra Pradesh is witnessing huge winds of change

Hyderabad: Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president, Nara Chandrababu Naidu, who trounced Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP in one of the most bitterly fought assembly elections, is getting down to the business of “reconstruction” of the State which he alleged was “destroyed” by his arch-rival and predecessor.

The proposed State capital Amaravathi area has come alive and this has sent positive signals, especially among the people, the real estate market, industry, business class, etc across AP.

Both from Rayalaseema, but poles apart

Interestingly, both Chandrababu Naidu and former Chief Minister and YSRCP president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy hail from the Rayalaseema region, but in nature and conduct, they are poles apart.

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While Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu comes from Naravaripalle in the Chittoor district better known for business acumen, Jagan Mohan Reddy hails from Pulivendula in once famous faction-ridden Kadapa district. Kuppam and Pulivendula are their assembly constituencies.

Political experience

Besides, there is a huge age gap in age, Naidu is 74, and Jagan is 51, and has political experience.

Naidu has a long political standing–INC 1975-1983, Telugu Desam 1983 till date. He was CM in 1995, 1999, 2014 and 2024.

Jagan Mohan Reddy began his political innings with INC and was elected MP from Kadapa in 2009. Following denial of CM gaddi by Congress after his father and CM Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s death in a helicopter crash in 2009, he launched State-wide Odarpu Yatra (consoling people) devastated by YSR death including those who reportedly committed suicides.

Sensing huge sympathy, he floated YSRCP (Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party) and came to power in AP in 2019-2024. He was defeated badly in 2024, winning just 11 seats from 151 in 2019.

Both CMs into politics and business

Naidu and family are quite successful in family business ventures like Heritage Foods etc, while Jagan and their family too got into power, cement, and other businesses including media–Sakshi Telugu Daily and Sakshi TV etc.

Administration vs welfare schemes

Shrewd Naidu is known as a good administrator, pro-industry, promoter of Information Technology, innovation, and bio-technology in undivided AP, taskmaster, and good marketeer, etc. in both undivided AP and then in AP.

Naidu asserted that he would complete Amaravathi as AP capital and Polavaram Irrigation project.

He tweeted, “Amaravathi isn’t just a capital, it’s a collective symbol of the aspirations of our people of Andhra Pradesh. How the YSRCP regime disregarded these aspirations, brutalized our farmers, and destroyed our capital, left us deeply pained. Today, I inspected the Amaravati region and assessed its current state. We shall resume building our capital together, starting today. Amaravathi is God’s will, and destiny has found its course.”

Jagan Mohan Reddy banked more on welfare schemes to poor specially women, SC, STs and BCs, besides launching an innovative Grama Sachivalayam (Village secretariat), one stop place that makes available all government services under one roof. He did improve hospitals and schools.

However, his focus on freebees boomeranged at the polls.

Shocked at the poll outcome

Jagan Mohan Reddy in post-poll media conference expressed shock at his defeat despite doling out freebies to people, especially women. “What happened to the love and affection of 1.05 crore women? I don’t know… The loss is immense and unprecedented. We will strike back in the 2029 elections,” he remarked.

In fact, some politicians in AP say Jagan is headstrong and has his way with his close coterie. It’s also difficult for MLAs and others to reach him unless he wants to meet them.

He is even compared to the nature of his grandfather Y S Raja Reddy, a known faction leader who was killed in a bomb attack.

Factors for Jagan’s Waterloo

Political analysts came out with multiple reasons for Jagan Mohan Reddy sensational defeat including failure to establish one State capital Amaravathi, lack of jobs for youth, lack of development of industrial sector, IT and other sectors, pending Polavaram project etc and banking hugely on welfare schemes.

His 3-capital formula—Visakhapatnam (North Andhra) as an executive capital, Amaravathi (Andhra) as Legislative capital and Kurnool (Rayalaseema) Judicial Capital boomeranged and earned the wrath of those who gave land for development of the capital city in Amaravathi. The land donors launched State wide agitation.

People of AP began comparing AP with Telangana State, which saw rapid development under BRS led K Chandrasekhar Rao government from 2014 to 2024 and little development in AP.

While AP remained without a formal capital, it also lost Hyderabad as joint capital on completion of 10 years as per the bifurcation agreement now.

Both CMs face allegations

Interestingly, while Naidu’s coterie was accused of purchasing huge tracts of lands in and around proposed State capital Amaravathi which was one of the reasons for Jagan to dump the project, sources in YSRCP say that many had purchased lands in and around Visakhapatnam anticipating it to be next capital.

CPI Ramakrishna on both CMs

“Though they both hail from Rayalaseema region, they are poles apart and have different working styles. Chandrababu Naidu Garu is known as an able administrator, pro-development, and lesser known for welfare schemes. On the other hand, Jagan Mohan Reddy Garu ignored development, building one capital city and focussed more on doling out welfare schemes. This proved to be his Waterloo,” sums up K Ramakrishna, CPI Secretary.

Ramakrishna says Naidu and Jagan Mohan Reddy cannot be compared though both hail from the Rayalaseema region.

“Firstly, it’s the age gap. Naidu, a student leader, is a contemporary of Y S Rajasekhar Reddy Garu, Jagan’s father. He began his political career in Congress and later joined his father-in-law N T Rama Rao’s Telugu Desam Party. Jagan is much younger and lacks political experience compared to Naidu.”

He added, “Though Jagan Mohan Reddy quit Congress after denial of CM’s post and floated his party YSRCP, which ultimately formed Government and the now lost, he still has a long way to go to match the political skills of veteran Naidu.”

Rayalaseema a hub for politicians

Ramakrishna observes that while Kadapa, Kurnool, and Ananthapur are known for landlords, factionalism, mineral wealth etc. and produced top politicians who rose to be the President of India like Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, CMs like Damodaram Sanjeevaiah, Kotla Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, Y S Rajasekhar Reddy etc., Chittoor is known more for small and marginal farmers and business acumen. It also produced CMs like Nara Chandrababu Naidu, N Kiran Kumar Reddy and other top politicians.

From four Rayalaseema districts of Kurnool, Kadapa, Ananthapur, and Chittoor in undivided AP, it has now been carved into eight districts—Kurnool, Nandyal, Ananthapuramu, Sri Satya Sai, YSR, Annamayya, Tirupati and Chittoor.

Both leaders back Modi

Interestingly, Naidu joined the NDA and fought the polls in an alliance of Jana Sena and BJP. Jagan’s YSRCP backs Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the NDA government at the Centre but has no electoral alliance with the BJP.

In the recent Lok Sabha Speaker’s election, PM Modi reportedly sought YSRCP support and later gave it. TDP, Jana Sena, BJP, and YSRCP are all under Modi’s umbrella though they fight pitched battles back home in AP.

Political families in AP

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which came out with a list of families that dominate the political scene in AP, found 29 powerful families that control politics in the State.

In fact, AP politics is caste driven, with Reddy, Kamma, SC, ST and other communities dominating in all spheres.

Revenge politics

AP witnesses caste and revenge politics besides abusive language against rivals. Turncoats are common among MLAs and other politicians.

The pre and post elections saw unprecedented revenge politics in AP. YSRCP party offices were targeted by the government for flouting norms and illegal constructions etc. including the one which was pulled down.

Four Television channels–TV 9, NTV, TV 10 and Sakshi TV were taken off air by Cable operators on alleged pressure from the Government for reported biased coverage during Assembly elections in favour of YSRCP. TD denies the charge.

From Jail barrack to CM’s seat

Voters in AP have a different perspective on their leaders going to jail for any offense. They just seem to ignore allegations and elect them to be their CM.

Both Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and Nara Chandrababu Naidu are classic cases.

Jagan Mohan Reddy spent nearly 16 months in Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad in a quid quo pro case. CBI filed 11 charge sheets accusing several companies invested in Jagan’s firms allegedly as a quid quo pro for government favours when his father Y S Rajasekhar Reddy was CM between 2004 and 2009. Several former ministers, bureaucrats, and industrialists are named as accused.

Similarly, Chandrababu Naidu spent 53 days in Rajahmundry jail and walked out on bail in A P Skill Development case.

But both feigned innocence, won elections, and became CMs.

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