Last week the convoy of Nara Lokesh was attacked on the Bangalore highway with beer bottles, tomatoes and mangoes while he was returning to Hyderabad from campaign. To some extent the mishap proved to be a blessing in disguise for the son of TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu as the incident made him known outside Andhra Pradesh too. "The attack earned Lokesh publicity nationally. He was little known outside Andhra Pradesh. Now almost all national leaders know who Lokesh is," said B Mallaiah Yadav, a TDP candidate from Telangana.
Though Nara Lokesh campaigned for Chandrababu in 2009 in Kuppam, he was formally inducted into the party in 2013 only. However, acceptance through the rank and file did not come easy. Even the youth leaders of the party thought him to be an imposition from the top. Slowly Lokesh built rapport with both seniors and juniors and galvanized them when his father was on padyatra.
Today, the 31-year-old is not only a star campaigner of the party but also talked about a CM candidate for Seemandhra in the event Naidu chooses to go to parliament. "If Chandrababu goes to the Center, then Lokesh can contest from Kuppam," says B Gopalakrishna Reddy, a TDP leader from Chittor. Currently, along with his father and father-in-law and actor Balakrishna, Lokesh is campaigning extensively for the TDP and its alliance partner BJP.
However, father Chandrababu feels there is a lot for Lokesh to learn before he takes the big political plunge. "Lokesh will not contest any elections as of now. He will campaign for party candidates. Lokesh can learn a lot if he campaigns and looks after the party work," says Chandrababu Naidu.
Having said that, Chandrababu does not forget to shower praise on his son. "Lokesh had installed dummy ATMs during the party campaign in 2009 for giving subsidies to farmers online. The direct cash transfer scheme lancuned by the UPA government is nothing but a copy of Lokesh's scheme," a proud Chandrababu often claims.
Be it dressing or body language, Lokesh comes across as a spitting image of his illustrous father. "No wonder Lokesh is very popular among the youth," says Kambhampati Rammohan Rao, Naidu's campaign manager.
The Stanford educated and World Bank trained Lokesh too displays all the makings of being a leader. "The BJP-TDP alliance is a win-win combination. The work done by Narendra Modi and the fame of Chandrababu as a good administrator is sure to lure voters," Lokesh told dna while campaigning in Ranga Reddy district.
Profiling his other achievements, TDP office manager TD Janardhan says Lokesh has tried his hand at launching a news channel too. He also tried to launch a web TV channel for the party. The e-paper — 'Telugu Desam' — highlighting party's activities in Telugu too is his brainchild, Janardhan added.