By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, May 25: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has decided to show the door to senior party leaders who had attained "political superannuation".
This in effect means those above 60 years in Telugu Desam will not get party ticket in the next Assembly elections scheduled for May 2009. The "young and energetic" will get utmost priority and in fact Chandrababu Naidu has reserved 40 per cent of the Assembly tickets to youngsters. Moreover, the TD leadership will try its hand on "open selection" of candidates for the Assembly polls giving a free hand to local party leaders to have their say in the candidate selection drive.
Chandrababu Naidu has taken these and other decisions as part of his latest "power mantra" of giving a "new direction" to the Telugu Desam, which is now in its silver jubilee year. He is likely to give finishing touches to his plans at the party's annual general body meeting, Mahanadu, scheduled for three days from May 27 at the temple town of Tirupati. But he will hold the new political strategy close to his chest and will not reveal it till the next Mahanadu or the election fever catches up in the State.
"The Telugu Desam is now 25. Those who joined the party 25 years ago when they were, say, 40 years of age, are now 65. In a way the party is old. We want to infuse new blood by giving at least 40 per cent of the tickets to the youth. We will also think of taking the opinion of the local leaders in the selection of candidates for Assembly polls. But we will come out with a detailed plan at an appropriate time," Chandrababu Naidu told this correspondent.
Chandrababu Naidu, who has given a "free hand" to district party leaders in the district unit elections, said the experiment was successful and he would replicate it in the Assembly polls. He said the silver jubilee Mahanadu would be quite different as far as party's policies and programmes are concerned.
The Telugu Desam, he said, introduced economic reforms with a "human face" in 1995 and the benefits of such reforms are being reaped now. The number of billionaires have increased. This is a good sign. But at the same time the poor has remained poor. We should focus on them. For this we need an alternative economic programme," Chandrababu Naidu said in an interview on the eve of the Mahanadu.
Referring to the Muslim reservation issue, Chandrababu Naidu alleged that the Congress government had complicated the matters. "It is a simple issue and it should have been solved easily. But the Congress has complicated it. We need to clear the mess once we come to power," he pointed out.
On the free power to the farm sector, Chandrababu Naidu said the TD would come out with a "special package" for farmers at an appropriate time. He said the Telugu Desam would also take a decision on separate Telangana at an opportune time.
The TD, he said, had not made up its mind on the Presidential polls. "We did not say that we will support the BJP candidate. The defeat of the Mulayam Singh government in Uttar Pradesh will have no affect on the moves to form a third political alternative force in the country," Chandrababu Naidu observed.
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