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Image makeover top on Telugu Desam’s agenda

Saturday 28 May 2005, by VENKATESHWARLU*K.

Party to get tough as Opposition to take on Government

- Close scrutiny of Government performance

- 18-odd resolutions likely to be taken up

- Major changes in leadership unlikely

- Party may adopt cautious approach

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MAHA PREPARATIONS: Traffic islands wear a colourful look with buntings, like this one at Nagarjuna Circle, in Hyderabad on Friday on the eve of TDP’s Mahanadu.

HYDERABAD: When the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) gets down to the nitty-gritty of long deliberations and adoption of resolutions, at its three-day Mahanadu beginning here on May 28, the single most important objective it will like to achieve is its image makeover, from a reluctant to a fighting Opposition that gives the Government sleepless nights.

Senior party leaders say the Mahanadu will take a close look at the Government’s performance. From watering down its first promise of providing free power to the farm sector without any restriction to "massive corruption" in the irrigation tenders.

The "failure on all fronts" will be the running theme and at the end of it all Mahanadu is expected to virtually declare war on the Government. The party leaders state that one year is a reasonable time for a Government and it is time for the TDP to discharge its duties as "responsible Opposition taking up issues affecting people".

But for berating the Government, the 18-odd resolutions planned to be adopted may not throw any new light on the party’s present stand and its future political course. Nor will there be any changes in the leadership. On major issues like Telangana, agriculture and reforms too, despite speculation, there may not be much of a change.

Poll debacle

There was still this impression in the party that these were not the sole factors that had affected the party during election. "Our analysis shows that a combination of extraneous factors had worked against us," says Kadiam Srihari, TDP general secretary. Another senior leader, K. Vidyadhara Rao, blamed the three-year drought and the Congress’s Goebbels propaganda for the debacle. "Otherwise we have done so well in all sectors."

`Painting it yellow’

The mood indicates that the party will prefer to adopt a cautious line than indulge in adventurism. Slogans on the party banners seen all over the place on Friday, painting the city yellow, says it all. "Our aim is an integrated State and development of backward areas."

In all banners there is liberal use of the former Chief Minister, N. T. Rama Rao’s pictures alongside that of the party president, N. Chandrababu Naidu, with the slogan, "If Ramanna was for self-respect (of Telugus), Chandranna is for (building) their self-confidence." Another banner took a dig at the Government’s `Jala Yagnam’ stating "Contractors’ treasury is full while the benefit for the farmers is nil."

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