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Botched bid boost to Naidu

Hyderabad, Oct. 4: The men who tried to blow him to bits didn’t merely give him a new lease of life — they have rescued his politics, too.

As the parade of VIPs continues to . Chandrababu Naidu’s residence, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister is enjoying a turn in political luck that seems to have deserted him till recently.

A significant sympathy wave is building up for the injured leader whose popularity graph had been sliding in the backdrop of growing corruption, continued association with the BJP and the numerous scams during his eight years at the helm.

Wednesday’s assassination bid by People’s War Group Naxalites near the temple town of Tirupati has come as a godsend for Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party. The Desam was ostracised in the just-concluded monsoon session of the Assembly over the fake stamp paper scam, the abortive talks over Krishna water release from the Almatti dam in Karnataka, the severe drought and suicides by farmers.

The Congress and the Left parties which planned to take out demonstrations immediately after the session have postponed their activities. There were no takers for Opposition leader Y.S. Rajsekhar Reddy’s agitation in Tirupati where he observed a “silent dharna” in protest against the growing menace of extremism in the state. The Congress programme went completely unnoticed by the media.

Naidu, on his part, has decided to cash in on the sympathy wave. Egged on by public adulation and the support of admirers, the chief minister has decided to resume work from Monday against the advice of his doctors. His left hand still rests in a sling but the belt around his neck has been removed.

Doctors treating him say Naidu is recovering fast and, according to them, the reasons for it are rest and his determination “more than the medicine”.

The steady stream of well-wishers has also done its bit. They have been coming in increasing in numbers, compelling the doctors to even stop the visits for several hours in the afternoon.

S.M. Krishna and Om Prakash Chautala, the chief ministers of Karnataka and Haryana, were among those who called on Naidu early this morning.

Sri Lanka’s minister for housing, Armugam Thondaman, also called on him and conveyed the message of the Sri Lanka President wishing him a fast recovery.

Industrialist Vijay Singhania, the governor of Tamil Nadu, P.S. Rammohan Rao, Telugu film actor Krishna along with his actress wife Vijay Nirmala, Jnanpeeth awardee C. Narayan Reddy, and the president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Musalmeen, Sultan Salauddin Owaisi, were among those who called on Naidu.

Speaking to reporters, the Karnataka chief minister said extremism should be firmly dealt with in the interest of development and reaching economic benefits to the poor. “A coordinated effort by all the Naxalite-infested states — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra — could help resolve the tenacious issue,” he said.

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