Hyderabad: Bringing his two passions — business and politics — on one platform, Nara Lokesh today stands at a rather safe ground. Speaking to scribes at the Deccan Chronicle office on Friday, he states that his role in the party would be behind the scene as he saw his leader and father, CM Chandrababu Naidu, leading the party for at least another decade. Calling himself a pucca Hyderabadi and not a Telanganite or Andhraite, Lokesh said as a voter from this region, he had every right to be critical about the TRS administration. Referring to his father as “dad” only at home, he said he took pride in calling him “leader.”
With power being their major USP, he said that was what kept Telugu Desam going. “Our leader has an approval rating of 86 per cent and that is because of power.”
On being the next CM and family lineage.
There was never any discussion in the party about that. Now, both leaders —my grandfather N.T. Rama Rao and father Nara Chandrababu Naidu — have strengths and weaknesses. My grandfather was more towards the Left, whereas my father was towards the Right initially, and then shifted to the Centre. I would also love to be at the Centre. For us, our leader is Naidu. I don’t see myself as the CM of TS, because we have many veteran leaders here. And in Andhra, our leader will lead at least for a decade.
Choice between Telangana or Andhra, if he becomes the next CM
This is very controversial. Only time will tell
On business and politics
When I had applied for Stanford, they asked a question: ‘What matters to you the most in life and why?’ I have always been passionate about bringing positive leadership. I knew that for five years, I’ll commit my life to business and then I would make that transition into politics. I was recently at an admission event, and they asked me how I could use it for politics. And I can use my MBA education in all my activities — my entire back office work, candidate analysis, booth-level strategy, big data management and public speaking... There are more politicians like me, like Sachin Pilot, Jyotiraditya and others.
On his de-stress mechanism
I enjoy a challenge. When I joined Heritage in 2008, we were losing money. We worked as a team and delivered `10 crore profit before tax per month. For me, it is always nice to take up a challenge.
On his equation with K.T. Rama Rao:
He is a friend and we meet socially.
On friends and leisure activities
I was never a party boy (laughs). But, somehow I used to end up on the Page 3 of the Deccan Chronicle. You have good photographers. I catch up with my friends once a week. All of us have now grown up, have now more responsibilities. I have a very small group and they are friends from kindergarten. We occasionally go out for movies.
On his extended family and celebrations
We all have good family relations and often meet for festivals like Diwali or Holi. We don’t meet every week though, because everybody is busy.
On movies and family lineage
Though my grandfather, uncles and many cousins are into movies, I was never drawn into movies. I have no time for movies. In fact, we never discussed movies as my mom is a businesswoman and my dad is politician. Our discussions were mainly politics and business.
On order of priority for water use
It will always be drinking water, followed by irrigation and then power. What is the point of power, if there is no water for people?
On nuclear power and renewable energy
We need nuclear power. We need to ensure that it is safe. If that is done, then nuclear power can solve s lot of problems. Look at all the western economies. All of them have developed because of low cost of capital and low cost of energy. Now, we don’t have low cost of capital. But for India to grow, we need low cost of power.
On bauxite mining in the state
If the locals are fine with it, we will go with it. If they have a problem, we won’t go ahead with it. Congress hadn’t done even one session of feedback with people. We are going to do it, let the people decide. On broader mining, the government will map all the mineral resources. We have a very long term plan in terms of harnessing systematically and very carefully so that we don’t exhaust all our resources in the next five or 10 years. It has to be beneficial for generations to come. As far as government is concerned, the way they are looking at it is, if anyone is willing to set up a steel plant, it has to be tied to mining and get a favourable agreement with state. We are against letting even 1 kg of mineral leaving the state without value addition.
On selling power to Telangana
Absolutely, that’s what our leader said. Even if we have one unit of excess power, Telangana will get the first right.