Don’t see any challenge to NDA in 2019, says Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu
In an interview with HT, Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu speaks about his dream project and main opponent YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, among other things.india Updated: Jul 11, 2017 19:35 IST
Work is progressing at a frenetic pace in Amaravati, the new capital of Andhra Pradesh, and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu knows that it will go a long way in deciding the Telugu Desam Party’s fate in the 2019 polls. In an interview with Moushumi Das Gupta, Naidu speaks about his dream project and main opponent YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, among other things. Excerpts:
You will be the only chief minister to have two state capitals under your belt – first Hyderabad, then Amaravati. How does the political outcome of the project look, given the progress so far?
Building a capital city can be a tough proposition, especially when we do not have a lot of resources, and this is why they have designated Hyderabad as a common capital for a period of 10 years. However, I decided that it would be very difficult to develop this area if I continued to stay in Hyderabad. Better to come here, start from scratch, and then move forward. This is how I started running this government from a bus, then our camp office, then the transit secretariat.
YSR Congress Party president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has hired political strategist Prashant Kishor for the coming election.
There are so many people in the world who can give advice, but (political) sustenance is possible only if a leader has originality. He possesses media (organisations) – Sakshi TV and Sakshi paper. But does it matter? A newspaper can have articles, but people should believe it. I don’t have a paper, and I don’t have a channel. Every media is my channel. Why should I bother, then?
Many in Rayalseema region, from where Jagan Reddy hails, believe you are focusing more on the coastal region for the capital development project. Your views?
I am focusing more on Rayalseema. It had been backward for so many years. Even Hyderabad was backward (before I took over). I developed Hyderabad, and I created an ecosystem. Today, because of (what I did), Hyderabad is one of (India’s) best cities. Now I am developing Rayalseema in a big way. I am providing water to Rayalseema – traditionally a dry place – in a big way.
You have been part of a non-BJP, non-Congress formulation in the past. Do you think such a formulation can be formed ahead of 2019?
Not necessary. Modi is doing very well. We are part of NDA. When we are so fortunate to have such a strong leader in India, why should I have that idea? I do not see any challenge (for the NDA).
You were heading a panel for promoting online payment systems. Do you think this can become reality, given the infrastructural bottlenecks?
We want to make Digital India a reality. It will happen once we have cut communication and transaction costs. Two very good reforms taken up by the Centre are demonetisation and GST. They will have a tremendous impact on the country in the long run.
In the light of the beef ban, do you think governments should enact laws that regulate the food habits of people?
In Andhra Pradesh, we do not have that problem. It’s irrelevant here.