Hyderabad : Chandrababu Naidu is fighting with his back to the wall. Many of his party leaders are disenchanted with the way he is running the Telugu Desam and the NTR family isn’t on the best of terms with him. How the TDP fares in the byelections to 18 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency will be an indicator of things to come.
Tenali Rama spoke to Mr Naidu on all the political developments in Andhra Pradesh.
Tenali Rama : It is a hot political summer in Andhra Pradesh. Campaigning must be very tough.
Chandrababu Naidu : From the beginning, we are very clear. Congress is responsible for global warming. So much corruption. They have cut all trees to convert them into currency paper. That is why it is so hot.
TR : That is a new take on global warming.
CBN : But I drink Heritage buttermilk.
TR : How do you rate your party’s chances?
CBN : Very bright.
TR : Very bright? Really? How many seats are you expecting to win?
CBN : From the beginning we are very clear. When the results come, you will know how many seats we win.
TR : You are dodging the question, Mr Naidu? What are people telling you during your campaign?
CBN : They do not tell me anything. I tell them you are fed up of Congress rule. I tell them you should not vote for Jagan. I tell them you should vote for TDP. I tell them they should make me chief minister again.
TR : Ok.
CBN : Whenever I see people using computers and mobile phone, I tell them it is because of me that they have internet and mobile phone. They asked me in Nellore last week if I am father of internet. Then somebody asked me if I am father of iPad also. That is how respectfully they remember me. I tell them I got Bill Gates, Bill Clinton to Hyderabad. So many IT companies came here because of me. I put Hyderabad on the world IT map. I ….
TR : (interrupting) But surely people also must be saying something to you?
CBN : Sometimes, when I pause in between my speech to take a sip of water, they ask me what film Balayya will do next
TR : And what do you tell them?
CBN : I tell them to first vote for TDP, then I will come back and tell you.
TR : (laughs) There is a lot at stake in these elections. Whoever wins will be seen as a favorite for 2014.
CBN : You are thoroughly mistaken. Both Congress and YSR Congress are paying money to people to buy their votes. But I do not have any money. Where we are going? Idi chaala daarunam. This is not good.
TR : What is not good? That they are buying votes or that you don’t have money?
CBN : Both. Both.
TR : What is your opinion on CBI action on Sakshi group?
CBN : Very good move.
TR : You are usually critical of the CBI. Aren’t you supporting now because it suits you?
CBN : No, You are thoroughly mistaken. I do not like the newspaper. From the beginning, I am very clear. I like Eenadu only. They carry positive stories.
TR : You mean, positive stories about you?
CBN : You have a negative mindset, Tenali Rama. Media should be responsible. Where we are going? This is not good. You should learn from Eenadu.
TR : Lot of senior leaders from your party are now leaving TDP. Aren’t you worried?
CBN : (remains silent for a while) I asked some of them where we are going. Someone told me they are going to Congress, someone told me YSR Congress.
TR : Isn’t that affecting the morale of your cadre?
CBN : Don’t spread mischievous stories. You media people always misreport. Just wait and watch. TDP will come back with a huge majority.
TR : I wish you all the best for that.
CBN : It is ok. You want to have some buttermilk?