Free Press Journal

India’s Glocal Leader: Chandrababu Naidu by Tejaswini Pagadala- Review


BOOK: Chandrababu Naidu: India’s Glocal Leader

Author: Tejaswini Pagadala

Publication: Bloomsbury

Price: Rs. 499

Pages: 130

Year 1974-1975: He discontinued his PhD due to his uninhibited interest in student politics. A student of economics, he was also the Chairman of the department but did not contest for the college Chairmanship. Instead, he succeeded in getting his man elected and gained an upper hand over his opponents in the student election.

Strategy: During the daytime gather the pulse of students’ votes and as the night falls, approach students and canvas in favour of his candidates. The talk of coaxing and cajoling would start at 9 pm and last till 5 am. His closest associates did not have an idea about this strategy and often political equations changed soon after his parleys with the students.

Year 2018: His party ends its four-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and pulls out of the Central Government and decides to move a no-confidence motion against Narendra Modi lead National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the Centre over its inability to grant special status for his state.

Strategy: Camping in Delhi to hold meetings with leaders of various Opposition parties to garner support for his party with the aim of participating in the anti-BJP platform ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in his State.

Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the man who changed the dynamics of a student, state as well as national politics and till this date carries the burden of Andhra Pradesh’s history and its future, has emerged once again on the Centre stage of politics. The book ‘Chandrababu Naidu – India’s Glocal Leader’ by Tejaswini Pagadala, could not have been timed any better to hit the books stands when political dynamics once again revolves around individual leaders with Naidu at the forefront.

Pagadala, who previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer has done remarkable research in presenting some of the unknown aspects of the man who gave AP a global recognition. No wonder, the usage of the word ‘Glocal’ personifies Naidu’s personality of being a global leader with a local touch.

Naidu made his political debut as the youngest MLA in AP at the age of 28 in the year 1978. It was the same year when his friend and former President of United States of America, Bill Clinton became the youngest Governor in the history of Arkansas. Even as we still bask into the memories of garden tea bonhomie between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former US President Barack Obama, the Glocal Naidu had surpassed this milestone way ahead and that too as the Chief Minister of technologically driven state.

Naidu was a huge admirer of Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao’s (NTR) movies and adored the top Telugu star, and later went on to marry his daughter Nandamuri Bhuvaneswari turning it into father-in-law and son-in-law relationship. Adored by Telugu people as their demi-god, NTR was always inclined towards social service. When Naidu was the rising star in Congress party, NTR in the year 1982 founded the Telugu Desam Party at the New MLA Quarters in Hyderabad.

The author mentions in her book that NTR repeatedly said, ‘Samajame na devalayam, Prajale na devullu (Society is my temple and people are my God). I am waging a war for the welfare of the common man.’ Today, several decades down the line, Naidu’s step of pulling out his party’s support to the NDA government at the Centre in seeking special status to Andhra seems to echo the sentiments of his iconic father-in-law.

Among so many faces on the Indian political stage, Naidu stands out for his unique approach towards Chief Ministership.  Naidu epitomized the Chief Minister as the CEO of the state and often stated at national conventions that he preferred to be called a CEO. “Politicians look only for today. A CEO looks for today, tomorrow and the future. As a CEO,  would get re-elected as Chief Minister,” the author who has managed the social media accounts of AP Government quotes Naidu.

Interestingly, today when the BJP tried to reap political gains and popularity with Modi’s Maan Ki Baat one can’t ignore the fact that much before someone could even think of this interactive concept, Naidu’s ‘Dial Your CM’ was already a hit in Andhra. Naidu who also happens to be Modi’s senior when it comes to emergence on the state level political platform had initiated a 30-minute weekly programme titled ‘Dial Your CM’ on Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR). This programme invited queries from people all over the State, where Naidu patiently talked to the people over the telephone through a live telecast. Eventually, it became a direct communication tool for the government to interact with people.

The book also sheds light on some interesting facts, which in the current stream of political undercurrents gives an interesting insight. While the Modi government can be credited for bringing paradiplomacy to the centre-stage of Indian policy-making, the idea of international relations being forged at the sub-national level is not a new one. “Naidu is the first man who demonstrated the power of India to the world in the 1990s post liberalisation. He is also the first Chief Minister in the country to use development as an agenda in 1995-1996. Modi, came, much later, in 2002,” the book quotes Dr Arun Tiwari, a missile scientist and co-author of former President Dr Abdul Kalam’s biography ‘Wings of Fire’.

‘Every crisis is an opportunity’, is one of Naidu’s most favourite phrases. With pulling out the support to the NDA government, Naidu has certainly put Modi and his team under crisis of progressive thinking. Only the coming elections will tell whether they turn into an opportunity or perish under this Andhra icon.