Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, credited for developing the IT sector in Hyderabad, returned to the tech hub, this time to campaign for his Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Naidu, who spent almost his entire political life in Hyderabad, turned emotional as he hit the roads around Cyberabad, the IT district which took shape during his nine-year stint as Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
Campaigning for 'People's Front' candidates for a second consecutive day on Thursday, he conducted road shows in constituencies in and around the city, projecting himself as the architect of modern Telangana. He termed Cyberabad as his brainchild.
"Who built Cyberabad? Who brought Microsoft to Hyderabad? Is it not me?" he asked the crowd at every meeting he addressed. He recalled how he placed the city on the world IT map by bringing in global giants and creating world-class infrastructure.
"Who built the international airport? Who built 165-km long world-class outer Ring Road?" he asked amid loud cheers from the crowd.
In the 2014 elections held in the aftermath of Andhra Pradesh's bifurcation, the TDP had an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It bagged 15 seats out of the 26 it contested in the 119-member Assembly.
This time, Naidu has joined hands with the Congress to contest 13 seats. "My party people wanted more seats. I told them the number of seats is not important, winning is important," he told a select group of journalists on Thursday.
TDP is part of Congress-led 'People's Front', which also has the Communist Party of India (CPI) and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) as its other constituents.
Naidu, whose party lost almost all its legislators elected in 2014 to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the last four years, is out to prove a point - that there is no space in Hyderabad for TDP, a party which the TRS dubs an 'Andhra party'.
"I am a citizen of this country. Don't I have a right to come to Telangana?" asked the TDP chief on TRS' jibe that what work he had in Telangana.
"I have not come here to become the Chief Minister. I can't become. This is a reality," said Naidu, who also dismissed TRS' allegation that if 'People's Front' came to power in Telangana, Naidu would work against the state's interests.
"I have always worked for the development and welfare of Telangana. This is a region dear to my heart," said the TDP leader, who believes that Hyderabad with the ecosystem he built had the potential to become a key global destination.
Though currently focused on developing Andhra Pradesh's new capital Amaravati, Naidu is keen to see Hyderabad cash in on its geographical advantage and talented human resources to realize its true potential.
"Can a lower riparian state stall the projects," was his counter to TRS allegation that he was creating hurdles for irrigation projects in Telangana.
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