By Pramod Chaturvedi
Amravati (Andhra Pradesh) [India], August 18 (ANI): Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national general secretary, Nara Lokesh who is the grandson of an actor turned Chief Minister N. T. Rama Rao, son of the former chief minister and TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu and son in law of an actor turned politician Nandamuri Balakrishna has a grand legacy in politics of Andhra Pradesh.
Although he became a minister in his father's cabinet through the legislative council, he could not make it big on his own. Not only that, he became a laughing stock, opposition made him unpopular as 'Pappu of AP'. Many jokes are cracked on his lingual skills. On top of all, he could not even win in the 2019 Assembly election when he contested for the first time.
Before the elections, Lokesh was projected as the future leader of the party. After the election results, he was called jinx for the party. Comparisons were drawn between Lokesh, his rival YS Jagan, and even with neighbouring state Telangana's young leader KT Ramarao. It was all humiliation for Lokesh from all corners. At one stage, he even stopped addressing the media.
But all that has passed. Two years passed by after TDP's defeat in assembly elections. Many changes took place in the political arena of Andhra Pradesh. And that gave scope for Lokesh to regain his composure, start a new battle. Even that was a tough task with Covid pandemic cornering him to the house. Yet, he survived. Not only survived, but Lokesh is trying to get a foothold in AP politics again.
Since Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSRCP government came to power with a humongous majority, there was no scope for the opposition, at first. Even then it was Chandrababu Naidu who led the fight against Jagan. But Lokesh gradually started coming to the fore. He started interacting with party cadres, speaking to different sections of people on their problems. He started meeting with farmers, weavers, and many other people from different cross-sections of society. Though the responses were lukewarm, he didn't stop there itself but continued his efforts.
On the other hand, Lokesh started to correct his lacuna. While admitting the slip of tongue mistakes gracefully, he started conveying his intentions clearly. At the same time, Lokesh increased the intensity of his verbal attacks on his archrival YS Jagan and his government. Lokesh has been warning not only YSRCP leaders and cadre but also the bureaucrats and police whom he considers as acting puppets in the hands of the ruling party. When we will come to power, we will pay back for everything you have done, is what Lokesh saying to the police and bureaucrats. Such an aggressive stand from Lokesh is something unexpected.
During the lockdown period in the first wave of the Covid pandemic, Lokesh was mostly confined at his Hyderabad residence. Though occasionally he travelled, his interactions remained brief. But for the past 3-4 months there is a sea change in him. Whenever any issue arises, Lokesh is going there, mingling with people, and responding to media. He sharpened his attacks on the government. For example, Lokesh went to Guntur where a girl was murdered brutally on Independence day in broad daylight and consoled her family. Not only that, he had an altercation with the police, he slammed the law and order situation in the state. Though he was detained throughout the day and released late in the evening, he came to the media last night and lambasted the government. Such an offensive play from Lokesh is appealing to at least a section of people.
Lokesh has worked out well on his physical appearance too. Before the elections, he was not so careful of his shape and appearance. But now he became much slimmer than earlier. Sporting a beard and mustache gave him an altogether new look. This makeover is matching his aggressive stance.
Now the question is, will the general public of Andhra Pradesh accept this new Lokesh? Will the people believe in his attitude and fight against the ruling party? Will they ignore his previous lingual slurs and take him into their minds? Will the TDP cadre agrees on Lokesh as their future leader? Will Lokesh take up the challenge of the 2024 assembly elections on his own?
But for Lokesh, there is still two and a half years of time to prove himself. His visible makeover in physique and attitude seems to be promising a new and different leader soon. How Lokesh will solve internal issues within the party and how he will woo the general public are interesting things to wait and watch. (ANI)