In Kuppam heat, Naidu locked in revival battle | India News

In Kuppam heat, Naidu locked in revival battle | India News

KUPPAM: At 74, TDP national president Nara Chandrababu Naidu is pulling out all the stops to reclaim the position of chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. However, he faces a tough challenge right in his backyard — Kuppam — where he’s seeking his eighth consecutive term in the 2024 elections.
Naidu’s political journey began in 1978 when he contested from Chandragiri on a Congress ticket. He swiftly rose through the ranks, becoming one of the youngest ministers in T Anjaiah’s cabinet in 1980.However, his life took a turn in 1980 when he married Bhuvaneswari, the daughter of legendary actor N T Rama Rao.
The emergence of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982, led by NTR, changed the political landscape of Andhra Pradesh. After facing defeat in 1983, Naidu jumped ship and joined TDP, shifting focus to the Kuppam constituency in Chittoor district, securing his maiden victory here in 1989.
Naidu has now been the MLA of Kuppam for 35 years, serving thrice as CM between 1995-2004 and 2014-2019. However, the 2024 elections present a critical challenge for him both at the state level and in his very own constituency.

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After YSRCP reduced TDP to just 23 seats in the 2019 elections, they set their sights on unseating Naidu in Kuppam. The ruling party’s focus intensified after chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy entrusted minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy with the task of ending Naidu’s winning streak. YSRCP introduced the “Why not Kuppam” slogan and fielded MLC KRJ Bharat against Naidu, backed by local support.
Bharat, the son of former IAS officer K Chandramouli, emerged as Naidu’s strongest contender, with the direct backing of the CM and minister Ped direddy Ramachandra Reddy.
In response, Naidu coined “Bangaru Kuppam” to counter the campaign — ‘Bangaru’, a term of endearment to refer to someone beloved. He appointed MLC Kancherla Srikanth to handle constituency issues and thwart opposition strategies.
Breaking from tradition, Naidu personally campaigned in this election, supported by his wife, Nara Bhuvaneswari, who joined him on the campaign trail to secure his 8th consecutive victory in Kuppam.
As polling day approaches, both parties are leaving no stone unturned. The YSRCP aims to dethrone Naidu, while Naidu aims to secure a majority of 1 lakh votes, having seen his vote share decline drastically in the 2019 elections.
“The people of Kuppam have been my strength and inspiration through my political journey,” Naidu said at a recent campaign rally. “Their trust and support have been unwavering, and I am committed to continuing to serve them with dedication and integrity.”
Meanwhile, Bharat ex pressed confidence in connection with the voters. “Kuppam deserves effective representation and real change. I am here to be the voice of the people and address their concerns head-on,” he declared passionately, emphasising his determination to bring about a positive change in the constituency.
Amid the campaign fervour, both parties are not only focusing on mobilising supporters but also on reaching out to undecided voters. With door-to-door campaigns, public rallies, and social media blitzes, every effort is being made to sway the voters in their favour.
Adding to the drama, Kuppam’s residents express mixed feelings. “We’ve seen Naidu’s long reign, but now it’s time for change,” says a local vendor, capturing the sentiment of many. On the other hand, a retired schoolteacher defends Naidu, stat ing, “He’s brought development to our region. Why fix what’s not broken?”
Local businesses are abuzz with discussions about the upcoming election. “This election will decide the fate of our town for the next few years,” says a shop owner, echoing the sentiments of many residents who see the election as a pivotal moment in Kuppam’s history.
While the candidates trade barbs and promises, the people of Kuppam are weighing their options carefully. “I’ve always supported Naidu, but this time, I’m not so sure,” says a farmer, reflecting the uncertainty that pervades the electorate.
With just days left until the election, as the candidates make their final push and the voters prepare to cast their ballots, one thing is certain — Kuppam is at the centre of attention, and the outcome of this election will reverberate far beyond its borders.

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