Naidu concludes ‘padyatra’ with show of strength in Vizag

Visakhapatnam, April 27 (IANS) Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu concluded his nearly seven-month long ‘padyatra’ (walkathon) with a mammoth public meeting in this port city Saturday.

Thousands of people from various parts of Andhra Pradesh turned up for what is being seen as the main opposition party’s major show of strength ahead of the next year’s elections to the state assembly and Lok Sabha.

The former chief minister unveiled a 60-feet pylon to mark the culmination of 2,817 km long padyatra, the longest such padyatra undertaken by a politician in the state.

Naidu’s wife Bhuvaneswari, son Lokesh, brother-in-law and popular Telugu actor N. Balakrishna and top leaders of the party were present on the occasion.

The TDP chief then left in a rally for Andhra University grounds, where a large number of TDP workers and supporters gathered to hear him.

The 64-year-old broke the record of his bitter rival and late chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who had covered nearly 1,500 km in 64 days in 2003. That ‘padyatra’ helped Rajasekhara Reddy to bring Congress party to power in 2004, ending Naidu’s nine-year-long rule.

Hoping to repeat history, Naidu launched his padyatra on Oct 2 last year at Hindupur in Anantapur district. He covered 16 districts, interacting with various sections of people to know their problems and making promises if TDP regains power in 2014 elections.

Senior TDP leader Kodela Sivaprasad Rao termed the padyatra a historic one. He said despite the health problems, Naidu undertook the walkathon to know people’s problems and promised to solve them if party returns to power.

Political observers say the ‘padyatra’ boosted the moral of TDP cadre in the wake of setbacks including the defeat in the by-elections last year and the desertions by several party leaders and legislators to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress party.

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