Out of power for two terms, TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu, in 2012, went on a state-wide padayatra named Vasthunna Meekosam (I am coming for you) to reconnect with people. After gruelling walks that stretched into the nights, Naidu used to rest in a custom-made bus and resume walking the next morning.
Naidu, who regained power earlier this year, is back on the bus now. Since Tuesday, a white and green bus parked inside the Visakhapatnam collectorate has become the office-cum-residence of the Andhra Pradesh chief minister who has been staying in the port city to administer cyclone rehabilitation efforts.
The severe cyclonic storm Hudhud made landfall at Vizag on Sunday forenoon and wreaked havoc — snapping power, water supply, tele-communication and roads — in the city of two million people.
The bus which Naidu has been working out of, parked at the Vizag collectorate. (HT Photo)
Naidu sleeps — only for a few hours, according to his aides —bathes, eats and also interacts with officials in the bus which was locally procured and resembles a RV. He also uses the conference hall inside the collectorate with constant reviews, rebuking officials and holding press conferences.
“After Hudhud, everything is in disarray in the city. He could have stayed at a premium hotel but it would have demanded a security detail. Moreover Naidu wanted to shun luxury in this time of despair,” Parakala Prabhakar, advisor (communications), AP government told HT.
The effort might look like an attempt to gain brownie points but the CM himself camping in their city seems to have impressed Vizagites.
“If it was not Babu, restoration works would not have been so quick,” says Srirama Murthy, a restaurateur.
Naidu was making surprise visits to petrol stations, markets to check prices, distribute relief to poor. Over last few days, he also visited Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts and agency areas within Visakhapatnam.
“He seems is never satisfied,” a senior official who looked sapped of his energy said.
Naidu is expected to stay in Vizag for two more days by when the situation is expected to show some stability.