HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu has decided to bank on the “Andhra pride” sentiment to face separate but simultaneous fights from YSR Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the coming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. In his campaign, Naidu would be seeking the help of dozens of non-political and civil society outfits, besides some smaller parties.

“PM Modi, Jagan (YSR Congress leader) and KCR (Telangana CM) have ganged up against me and they want to see me ousted from power as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. Modi and KCR don’t want a strong and efficient CM like me to lead Andhra, they want a puppet CM like Jagan so that they can remote control the state,” said Naidu while addressing a women’s rally at Amaravati on Friday. A senior Andhra minister, who was closeted with the Chief Minister for the last two days, told this newspaper that Naidu would be harping on the “Andhra pride” sentiment on the lines of “Telugu pride” invoked by his late father in law and former Chief Minister N.T. Rama Rao close to four decades ago. NTR, whenever he faced politically tough situations, banked on “Telugu pride” and so will Naidu, the minister said.

There has been some change in tone and tenor of speeches of Naidu who faces a clutch of criminal cases registered in Telangana related to the voter list data scam and charges of corruption from Jagan and BJP leaders. The CM has alleged a conspiracy against him by the three leaders—the PM, KCR and Jagan—and appealed to the people of Andhra Pradesh to come to his rescue.

“Is it not your responsibility to protect me, who gave you Rs 10,000 as “Pasupu-Kumkuma” (gift to women in Telugu house-holds)? Is it not your responsibility to protect our government from our enemies who are out to destroy what we have achieved in the last five years?” Naidu asked the women, most of them from women self-help groups.

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