The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Naidu rallies to take on rivals

Hyderabad, Nov. 1: Andhra Pradesh chief minister . Chandrababu Naidu has planned a major offensive against the Opposition which had accused him of indulging in “drama and theatrics” following the Naxalite attack on him on October 1.

Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party is set to hold massive public meetings from November 3 to 6 to gauge public sympathy for him following the attack and feel the pulse on its plan for snap polls.

Both the Desam and the Congress, which will launch its poll campaign in the state with a rally, are focusing on Telengana and Rayalseema. The thrust on the coastal areas of the state indicates that the Desam leadership is not sure of wholehearted support in its own bastion.

The Congress, however, has got a boost with a two-day session of the CPI’s state council reiterating its alliance with the Congress and expressing its solidarity with the CPM. The Left parties are also planning public meetings in Telengana and Rayalseema.

The regional organisation, Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, is also edging out of the Desam to join hands with the Congress. The outfit is holding meetings during Ramazan in an effort to unsettle the Desam-BJP alliance.

The Desam is gearing up to take on the challenge, but several of its legislators are wary of going to polls with an “injured Naidu”.

“We cannot count on his sympathy wave, as it might at the most overcome the incumbency factor but will not attract new voters,” said a senior leader.

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