Hyderabad: For N. Chandrababu Naidu, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was a bitter rival when he was alive but on Saturday the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president is taking out every leaf out of his book in his bid to return to power in Andhra Pradesh in the 2014 elections.

The leader of opposition is not only taking to streets demanding implementation of the welfare schemes launched by his nemesis when he was in power 2004-09, but is also following in his footsteps to woo back the people.

Naidu, who was chief minister from 1995 to 2004 till YSR unseated him, is embarking on a 'padyatra' or walkathon to interact with people and know their problems. The TDP president will cover 2,320 km during his 117-day long 'padyatra' from Oct 2 to Jan 26, 2013.Naidu, who is the longest serving chief minister in the state's history, plans to surpass YSR, who had undertaken 64-day 'padyatra' in 2003, which catapulted the Congress party back to power in the state.

Covering 1,500 km across the state, YSR cashed in on the disenchantment among people, especially among farmers.The only difference between the two yatras is that YSR had walked under scorching sun while Naidu will be doing so in winter.

TDP feels it is the right time for Naidu to embark on such a yatra as people are fed up with the Congress 'misrule'. A senior party leader told that every section of the society is unhappy with the government.

"Farmers are facing problems, there is severe electricity shortage badly affecting agriculture and industrial sectors, students are unhappy over fee reimbursement issue," he said. The TDP, however, does not like the comparison some people are drawing with YSR's yatra.

It points out that there was no corruption during its rule while Congress government is neck-deep into corruption. Naidu will be trying to highlight the corruption during YSR rule, which led to the arrest of one minister while another minister has been charge sheeted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The federal agency, which has arrested YSR's son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy in illegal assets case, is also probing the role of some other ministers in issuing controversial orders which benefited Jaganmohan Reddy during YSR's rule.

Political analysts feel Naidu is keen to win back people's confidence as he is seen as a leader with poor credibility. During the last few years, he admitted the mistake of neglecting agriculture when he was the chief minister.

He also learnt a bitter lesson from his alliance with BJP and is trying to regain the confidence of minorities. Interestingly, Naidu, who as chief minister had opposed YSR's promises, mainly the free electricity to farmers, is on Saturday fighting with the government to continue the freebies offered by YSR government.

Then considered as the poster boy of India's economic reforms, Naidu is now leading protests on streets against the government move to dilute the fee reimbursement scheme launched by YSR. Under the scheme, the government was bearing the entire fee of professional courses for students belonging to economically weaker sections of the society.

A couple of days ago, Naidu led a massive protest in Hyderabad against the government decision to fix a Rs.35,000 cap on fee reimbursement for engineering students.

(Agencies)

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