Tirupati: TD chief N. Chandrababu Naidu’s wife Nara Bhuvaneswari on Wednesday sparked a political controversy by asking Kuppam residents if they would vote for her over her husband in the upcoming elections, saying she wanted to “give Naidu a rest” after 35 years in politics. While she had intended the comment as a jest, the YSRC armed itself with a video of her statement and made it viral on social media.

Addressing a women’s gathering on financial empowerment, Bhuvaneswari said: “Let me tell you something… Everyone feel free to react. Following my journey throughout the Nijam Gelavali campaign and feeling the affection of the people, I felt this desire in my heart. Given the enduring trust in Chandrababu Naidu, Kuppam residents have consistently supported him for 35 years. I might ask him to take a break and I'll step into the electoral arena,” she said.

Bhuvaneswari asked the crowd to raise their hands if they backed Chandrababu Naidu and immediately, she prompted them to do the same if they favoured her candidacy. As women raised their hands in support of both, she said, “Well, you can't endorse both of us simultaneously.” However, she went on to say: “I’m just kidding. I have no need for any positions, and my husband looks after me well.” Reiterating that her comments were made jovially, she said: “I cannot carry on

with this conversation in a serious vein. Therefore, I made a light-hearted jest. Please do not take my inquiries as genuine. Only Chandrababu will be contesting from here.”

Seeking support for her husband, she said: “I wish to remain apolitical.” However, Bhuvaneswari's comments fuelled the YSRC’s campaign, as supporters of the ruling party interpreted her remarks as a call for Naidu to retire from politics. The YSRC circulated a strategically edited 20-second video clip, alleging that Bhuvaneswari advocated for Naidu to step down. The video was shared on the social media platform X with the tag “#end of TDP”, with the YSRC claiming the post sparked celebrations among the TD cadres.

Bhuvaneswari, however, criticised the YSRC government for the deteriorating law and order in the state, accusing Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy of turning the state into the “cannabis capital of India”, and also alleged a rise in crimes against women. She claimed the government failed to trace over 30,000 missing women between 2019 and 2021, asserting that this would not have happened under her husband’s rule. Bhuvaneswari praised Naidu's efforts in women's empowerment and lauded his contributions to education, IT advancements and economic development of Andhra Pradesh.

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