Even as India and its political leadership is focused on battling the Corona virus, the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not reach out to Telugu Desam chief Chandrababu Naidu has not gone unnoticed in Andhra Pradesh political circles. This when two days back, Modi called up just about every prominent opposition leader in the country and that included several of his bitter critics – from Sonia Gandhi to Mamata Banerjee to MK Stalin. The PM also spoke to former Prime Ministers Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh.
The decision to ignore Naidu has its roots in the manner in which the former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh walked out of the NDA in 2018 and then launched an extremely bitter political and personal campaign against Modi. Name-calling was at its peak, with Naidu even referring to Modi as a “terrorist” and a “pseudo chowkidar”.
Naidu’s humiliating defeat in the Andhra Pradesh paused his political career as he now struggles to keep his flock together, with many leaders migrating to the BJP and the YSR Congress. The snub is also seen as rubbing salt in Naidu’s oft-repeated claim of being the seniormost leader in the country in the run-up to the 2019 elections.
But the point that is made by Naidu admirers is that the former CM has proved his mettle as a crisis manager, having been at the helm of affairs during several cyclones in Andhra Pradesh. It is argued that his inputs, given his emphasis on marrying technology with administration, could come in handy for the country. Which is perhaps why Naidu chose to speak to the people directly on Monday morning, using Zoom as the medium of communication.
On his part, Naidu has been supportive of Modi, joining in his call to clap on 22 March and also light a lamp on 5 April. Earlier in October 2019, he had also referred to his decision to walk out of the NDA as a mistake.
But the Corona Virus pandemic is a dynamic situation, one that has thrown the country off gear. These are unprecedented and unpredictable times and you never know how things pan out over the next few days and weeks.