A leaked audio tape in Andhra Pradesh suggests disquiet in TDP over poor response to party scion Nara Lokesh’s padayatra

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BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 10, 2023 | 9:47 AM Updated Apr 04, 2023 | 8:57 PM

Nara Lokesh TDP padayatra

It’s the season for audio leaks in Andhra Pradesh. After a leaked conversation between Nellore rural MLA Kotamreddy Sridhar Reddy and a friend created a stir, it is the turn of Opposition TDP’s state unit chief K Atchennaidu’s teleconference with party leaders in Gangadhara Nellore (GD Nellore) Assembly segment that has gone viral across social media platforms.

The audio gave people a glimpse into the concern in the higher echelons of the TDP over the poor response to party scion Nara Lokesh’s padayatra, Yuva Galam (Voice of Youth), which was at Day 15 on Friday, 10 February.

The purported audio was a discussion between GD Nellore segment coordinator Chittibabu Naidu and Atchennaidu, who was reviewing the arrangements for the padayatra that had entered GD Nellore on Thursday.

During the conversation, Chittibabu Naidu said that arrangements have been made to mobilise people from several mandals under his constituency to the campsite every morning before Lokesh begins his padayatra. That is when Lokesh clicks selfies with people and a video of the entire exercise is released daily by his PR team.

Chittibabu Naidu also said payment had been made for at least 50 vehicles from each of the six mandals under his constituency, transporting as many as 3,000 people every morning to Lokesh’s campsite in 300 vehicles. The arrangements, he underlined, were foolproof.

At that juncture, Atchennaidu intervenes to inform Chittibabu Naidu that TDP supremo and Lokesh’s father N Chandrababu Naidu and other TDP leaders were disappointed with the poor response to the padayatra in the Chittoor segment for two days in a row.

Chittoor is Chandrababu Naidu’s home district and he has been representing Kuppam, one of the Assembly segments in the district, for more than three decades. That is why Lokesh chose Kuppam to launch his 4,000-km-long, 400-day padayatra on 27 January.

The TDP top leadership’s concern is apparently justified as, according to sources, the Yuva Galam padayatra had a particularly poor day on 6 February. And so disappointed was Lokesh that he remained confined to his caravan till evening the following day.

An incensed Chandrababu Naidu is said to have held a teleconference with the TDP’s Chittoor district leaders and asked them not to show their faces to him. This galvanised the local leadership into hurriedly organising a public meeting so as to end the padayatra with some grace that day.

Meanwhile, maverick director Ram Gopal Varma, who never misses an opportunity to mock Lokesh and the TDP, is at it again in the wake of the latest audio leak.

“I am 1,000% sure that this audio was leaked by Achchennaidu… because this is Achchennaidu’s strategy to save the Telugu Desam Party by letting @ncbn [Chandrababu Naidu] know the true capability of Nara Lokesh,“ tweeted Varma.

That must have hurt!