Days After Oath, BJP Ally C Naidu Seeks Meet With Congress’s Revanth Reddy

Days After Oath, BJP Ally C Naidu Seeks Meet With Congress's Revanth Reddy


Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has invited himself to the home of his Telangana counterpart Revanth Reddy at the latter’s home. Though the two leaders go back a long way, the optics of an NDA Chief Minister meeting his Congress counterpart has set political circles buzzing. Speculation is high on what projects the two states might collaborate on — a subject hinted at in Mr Naidu’s letter to the Telangana Chief Minister.

“It has been 10 years since bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh. There have been multiple discussions concerning issues arising from the Reorganization Act. which hold significant implications for the welfare and advancement of our states. It is imperative that we address these issues amicably with utmost diligence and resolve. In light of this, I propose that we meet at your place on 6′ July. Saturday afternoon,” Mr Naidu wrote to Mr Reddy.

“I firmly believe that a face-to-face meeting will provide us with the opportunity to engage comprehensively on these critical issues and collaborate effectively towards achieving mutually beneficial solutions for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. I am confident that our deliberations will lead to productive outcomes,” the letter added.

The carving out of Telangana has landed the Andhra Pradesh — and its Chief Minister — in a tricky situation, especially now, when the 10-year time for sharing Hyderabad as a joint capital comes to an end.

Andhra Pradesh is yet to build a state capital. Mr Naidu’s Amaravati project has been at a standstill for the last five years after former Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy cut the supply lines.

More importantly, the wipeout of K Chandrasekhar Rao’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi in Telangana has provided an opening to Mr Naidu to expand his foothold in the neighbouring state. For the TDP chief, who has been fighting for a decade to expand in the new state carved out of Andhra Pradesh, this is too big an opportunity to pass up.

For Mr Reddy, it creates a situation that should not be comfortable politically. But the two leaders are too well acquainted. Before joining Congress, Mr Reddy was part of the Telugu Desam Party and a close aide of Mr Naidu.

In the 2015 note-for-vote scam, in which Revanth Reddy went to jail, he had acted as Mr Naidu’s emissary to a nominated member of assembly to ask him to vote in favour of the TDP. Mr Reddy was caught on camera offering Rs 50 lakh to a member.  

Mr Reddy, moreover, is acquiring a reputation of making friends across party lines. In his recent week-long visit to Delhi, Mr Reddy met a number of BJP leaders, including party chief JP Nadda. When his affable treatment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and calling him “Bada bhai (elder brother) during his visit to the state in March raised eyebrows, Mr Reddy explained it saying he needed to cultivate friendly relations with all to help his state grow.

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