Indian Express

On Telangana stage, Modi praises Chiru brother, snubs Chandrababu

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BJP supporters wear masks of Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally in Coimbatore Tuesday. PTI BJP supporters wear masks of Narendra Modi during an election campaign rally in Coimbatore Tuesday. PTI

Narendra Modi made a whirlwind trip to Telangana Tuesday, addressing four public meetings, lifting the mood among BJP and TDP cadres — and handing out a few snubs to alliance partner, TDP’s N Chandrababu Naidu.

Modi addressed back-to-back public meetings at Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar and Hyderabad. If there was any misgiving over the problems in the BJP-TDP tie-up, Modi and Naidu did not show it at the public meeting at Mahbubnagar where they shared the dais. But the second meeting where they were together again — at Hyderabad — Modi almost forgot Naidu’s presence.

Naidu was clearly uncomfortable as Modi and actor Pawan Kalyan, brother of Congress’s K Chiranjeevi, presented a picture of bonhomie at the massive public meeting at L B Stadium.

In fact, Naidu appeared crestfallen when Pawan Kalyan was asked by BJP Telangana unit chief G Kishan Reddy to address the crowd before him, and Modi snubbed him by naming Pawan Kalyan first, and then Naidu, as if as an afterthought.

While Pawan Kalyan attacked family politics and accused the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) of indulging in hate speeches against ‘Andhra’ people, Naidu referred to AB Vajpayee’s government which gave the basis for development of Hyderabad under TDP.

But it was Modi who held the audience spell-bound with his speech in which he referred to the need for not only good governance but a government that can be trusted. “Don’t you want to change your life?’’ he asked the crowd, comprising mostly youths. “We will depend on talent to run our government, if necessary we will change the laws but we will bring back and honesty and integrity and punish corruption.”

Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party is not contesting the polls so it was surprising when Modi referred to himself, Pawan Kalyan and Naidu as one plus one plus one which, he said, makes 111 in political strength, although not arithmetically. It was probably Modi’s way of snubbing Naidu by equating Pawan Kalyan with him.

Earlier, Modi arrived in Nizamabad to a huge welcome. Pawan Kalyan, who met Modi on March 21 at Gandhinagar, was invited to share the dais. “He came to meet me in Gujarat and I was touched by his gesture. His ideas impressed me. At that moment I felt if people like Pawan Kalyan are here, then Telugu spirit will never die,” Modi said.

Their meeting turned out to be a huge embarrassment for Chiranjeevi, who is the Congress’s campaign committee chairman and star campaigner in Seemandhra.

Modi held the Congress responsible for the death of youths during the Telangana agitation. “It is Congress’s bullets which killed them. I call upon you today to vote for BJP in Telangana and at the Centre so that we can ensure bright future for you,” he said.

He accused the Congress of ignoring continued…

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