The Andhra Pradesh government’s move to name welfare schemes allegedly after chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu has come under sharp criticism from the Opposition parties.
While welfare schemes in neighbouring Tamil Nadu are titled “Amma” — as CM J Jayalalithaa is popularly known, Andhra Pradesh has named government schemes with the “Chandranna” prefix, apparently referring to Chandrababu Naidu.
Already a dozen schemes, including Chandranna Vidya Deepam (a scheme to provide IIT coaching to encourage brilliant students in government schools) and Chandranna Sankranti Kanuka (a scheme to give gift hampers to the poor on the occasion of Sankranti, a major festival in Andhra), now carry Naidu’s name.
Though this nomenclature didn’t receive any public resistance earlier, the government’s latest decision to christen community halls for the Kapu community as “Chandranna Kapu Samkshema Bhavans” and a corpus fund to provide scholarships to Kapu students as “Chandranna Kapu Nidhi” possibly took it too far and triggered a controversy.
These schemes — aimed at wooing the Kapus, a powerful community in coastal Andhra districts who are up in arms against the Naidu government for dodging their demand for reservation and inclusion in the OBCs — appear to have backfired.
Former minister Mudragada Padmanabham, who is spearheading the agitation for the Kapus, took strong exception to the government’s move. In a strongly-worded letter to Naidu on May 23, Mudragada said the decision was nothing short of humiliating for the community.
“You are not spending any money from your pocket for the Kapu schemes. It is public money and you cannot take credit for providing assistance to the community,” he wrote. “Maybe you will issue orders in the future asking our people to have Chandranna in their names.”
Kapu leaders in the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP), however, were quick to come to their leader’s defence. “The Kapu schemes were named after the chief minister only at the request of the beneficiaries of the schemes. Mudragada has no right to question it,” said deputy chief minister Nimmakayala Chinna Rajappa.
Another Kapu minister, M Narayana, told the media in Vijayawada that there was nothing wrong in naming the schemes after Naidu as he had done a lot for the Kapu community and was making efforts to fulfil their demand. “But, if there are serious objections from the community, the chief minister will look into it,” he said.
Official sources said Naidu was pained by the controversy and a press release said the leader has instructed officials to seek the CMO’s permission before naming schemes or buildings proposed to be dedicated to any community or section of society.