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Hyderabad: Is Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu trying to create a brand image for himself? That seems to be the indication after he introduced 21 welfare schemes named after himself—the ‘Chandranna’ brand—much as the late Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa did with her populist ‘Amma’ schemes.

Political analysts said that the move, uncommon in the state’s (including the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh) politics, is a sign that Naidu is trying to create a new brand for himself.

Some of the 21 schemes launched since Andhra Pradesh’s bifurcation in 2014 include Chandranna Bima (insurance of Rs5 lakh in case of accidents, death and disability for workers in the unorganized sector), Chandranna Sankranthi Kanuka (for distribution of subsidized essential commodities to BPL card holders), Chandranna Ramzan Taufa, Chandranna Christmas Kanuka, and the Chandranna Kapu Bhavan (for the Kapu community).

“Naming these schemes after himself is against the Constitution, because it is public money and these are welfare measures for the poor. These schemes provide relief to the people, and are meant for empowerment," said A. Chandrasekhar, political analyst and vice-president of Human Rights Forum’s AP chapter.

Chandrasekhar said Naidu has been lacking confidence in his governance since the bifurcation and is hence creating a brand with the welfare schemes under his own name. “Former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was also doling out schemes, but in the name of Rajiv and Indira Gandhi. Beneficiaries are aware that these are government schemes," he added.

State information and public relations commissioner S. Venkateswar said that there was no conscious effort by the government to try and create a brand with the ‘Chandranna’ schemes. “Chandrababu Naidu is already a brand by himself and was one even before AP had bifurcated," he said.

Venkateswar added that there is an “emotional connect" to the person who delivers welfare measures, and hence they were named ‘Chandranna’. “People also know former AP chief minister N.T. Rao in the same way, after whom we named the NTR canteens (similar to Amma canteens in Tamil Nadu)," he added.

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