The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Now, Naidu golden age

Hyderabad, May 27: The 18th annual convention or mahanadu of the Telugu Desam is geared up to project . Chandrababu Naidu’s seven-year regime as a golden era.

Almost all resolutions and programmes of the government will come up for appraisal at the convention in Tirupati which will hail the Desam boss as the architect of progress in Andhra Pradesh.

Beginning today, the three-day session — in which Naidu will be re-elected party president, his ninth year in the post — is set to highlight the populist measures he has taken amid World Bank-imposed hard decisions like trimming government departments and hike in power and water tariffs.

In all, 18 nominations have been received by prominent Desam leaders to re-elect Naidu as party chief for another two-year term.

Aware of the growing anti-incumbency wave, Naidu assured the people during his inaugural speech that there would be no increase in power and water tariff and also that reforms did not imply loss of jobs.

The focus of the convention is to project the Naidu government as a welfare regime rather than one driven by reform and monitored by the World Bank. The 27 resolutions that were debated were on empowerment of women, farmers and the youth. “These are the three areas the TDP will attach emphasis both for the purposes of electioneering and as growth engines for the development module generated so far,” Naidu said.

Though supporters of Naidu’s younger brother Ramamurthy had threatened a dharna at the venue, they were dissuaded from going ahead. The younger Naidu, who has distanced himself from the party, has announced a padayatra in the districts to highlight the plight of farmers, many of whom have been driven by debt to suicide.

Naidu lashed out at the Congress for not supporting the cause of the state’s farmers, getting more Krishna waters and exposing the designs of neighbouring Karnataka for not releasing water from the Almatti reservoir.

“Since both the Congress leaders of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are not bothering about the issue, I request the AICC president, Sonia Gandhi, to intervene and stop the injustice done to Andhra Pradesh farmers,” he said.

Naidu also clarified that the Desam did not have any ideological or political links with the BJP or the NDA at the Centre. He tried to convince the people that his partnership with the NDA was only to procure more benefits for his state — either in the form of rice or funds for development.

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