A former 'Young Turk' of Congress, a hi-tech CM, Opposition's envy and the 'man of masses' and bane of Naxalism. N Chandrababu Naidu is a maverick politician who feels the pulse of the people.
Naxalites tried to kill him but an indomitable Naidu has emerged more powerful out of the wreckage of his mangled car afer the attack near Tirupati. And he is confident of an outright victory in coming assembly polls, only on the basis of his vast developmental works and hi-tech revolution he has been able to bring to his state.
Born in Naravaripally village of Chittoor district on 20th April, 1950 to a farmer NK Naid, he had his school education in Chandragiri and his college education at Sri Venkateswara Arts College, Tirupati. He did his Masters in Economics from the Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati. He did not complete his Ph D.
Being the minister of state for cinematography in AP, he came into contact with superstar Nandamuri Taraka Ramo Rao. The Nadamuri family was impressed with Chandrababu Naidu, and they soon proposed that NTR's daughter Bhuvaneswari be married to him.
Though married life was smooth, some vested interests tried to poison NTR's mind by writing anonymous letters against Chandrababu Naidu. "One day NTR came up to his son-in-law and said he would pay no attention to such letters, and that he should do the same. 'We like you, and so we had agreed to the match.'"
Did he give his father-in-law the idea of floating a regional party? "He was impressed by the growth of regional parties in Tamil Nadu. But I do not think he gave the idea to NTR," says an observer. "The legendary star thought of it after attending Bhavanam Venkatram's swearing in ceremony in the early 1980s as chief minister."
Three years later, NTR stormed to power with a landslide majority. But Naidu could not retain his Chandragiri seat. As political hibernation threatened him, NTR summoned him and asked Naidu to join the Telugu Desam Party.
Chandrababu reluctantly joined it. He was well aware of the caste factors in the Congress, and the Kammas felt suffocated in the party. He felt he would have a better future in the TDP.
He began playing a crucial role in the TDP after Nandendla Bhaskara Rao overthrew NTR in a coup in August 1984. NTR started relying heavily on him, realising that the others around could not match his drive and hard work. Chandrababu was fully in control of the party, and it was because of his efforts that NTR had regained his chair.
NTR opted for a mid-term poll after regaining the chief ministership, but Chandrababu Naidu did not contest the poll. The Nandendla factor gave NTR another landslide, and Chandrababu Naidu started building up the party.
In the 1989 assembly election, Chandrababu Naidu contested from Kuppam and won with a slender majority of 5,000-odd votes. But, as the Congress had regained power in the election, Naidu had to sit in the Opposition.
Why did he decide to go to Kuppam? "He was very unhappy with Chandragiri," he mother has been quoted as saying.
In 1994, after the TDP regained power following an anti-Congress wave triggered by an anti-liquor agitation and a strong anti-incumbency factor, Naidu became the finance and revenue minister in the NTR cabinet.
A year later, he led a palace coup against NTR. So deep was the resentment against Lakshmi Parvathi (NTR's second wife) that if he had not done it, some other MLA would have become the CM. The whole Nandamuri family supported him in this regard. But NTR was a dejected man, and he died soon after.
Naidu was elected to Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1978 from Chandragiri constituency in Chittoor district. He served as a Director of the AP Small Scale Industries Development Corporation for some time.
He subsequently became a Minister and held the portfolios of Archives, Cinematography, Technical Education, Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Public Libraries and Minor Irrigation between 1980 and 1983. He also served as the Chairman of the State Karshak Parishad, constituted for the first time to look after the welfare of the farming community
He was elected again to the State Legislature from Kuppam constituency of Chittoor district in 1989. He served as Coordinator of the Telugu Desam Party, in which capacity he effectively handled the party's role of main opposition in the assembly which won him wide appreciation from both the party and the public. His role during this phase both inside the Legislative Assembly and outside was a critical factor for the subsequent success of the party at the hustings.
In 1994, he was reelected to the Assembly from Kuppam constituency with a large majority of 57,000 votes and held the important portfolios of Revenue and Finance. During this tenure Mr. Naidu systematically introduced transparency in Government, thus breaking the tradition of inordinate secrecy in the Finance department.
The mantle of leadership fell on the shoulders of Naidu at a most critical juncture in the State's politics. Following a popular upsurge in the party, Mr. Naidu was unanimously elected as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on 1 September 1995.
Following the elections to the State assembly wherein the Telugu Desam Party led by Naidu emerged as a winner, he was sworn in on 11 October 1999 as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for the second term. He was elected with a majority of more than 65,000 votes.
The Chief Minister has a modern outlook to administration. His style of functioning is more akin to that of a CEO rather than a traditional politician. The Chief Minister has a firm conviction that modern technology should be used in the service of the common man. Consequently, he lays great emphasis on the use of modern information technology in Government. He would like the State to be run professionally as an efficient organisation rather than as a bureaucracy saddled with red-tape.