Vijayawada: Political stability and investment opportunities have guided the United States in prioritising the prominence to be given to states during the visits of the Presidents to India.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has been invited to dine with President Donald Trump during his visit to New Delhi this week. Former chief ministers N. Chandrababu Naidu and Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy had hosted visiting Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush Jr respectively in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
While Mr Naidu lobbied hard with various agencies to include Hyderabad in Mr Clinton’s itinerary, Dr Rajasekhar Reddy was clueless about Mr Bush’s visit till the Centre informed him about it and asked that necessary arrangements be made.
Sources said Mr Chandrashekar Rao too came to know about the dinner invitation only when it arrived.
“A combination of chief ministers of BJP and non-BJP ruled states are invited for official dinners and Telangana is preferred among non-BJP states because of the larger business interests of US-owned MNCs in Hyderabad and their inputs about the city’s good investment climate,” a senior Central government official concerned with the visit told Deccan Chronicle.
Explaining the process of selecting the stop-overs, a retired bureaucrat in the then Chief Minister’s Office, who had coordinated Mr Bush’s visit to Hyderabad, said an advance team from the US had visited Hyderabad and in the preparatory meeting held at Grand Kakatiya Hotel, US officials had mentioned Dr Rajasekhar Reddy’s contribution to the then United Progressive Alliance government coming to power and the influence he wielded in the Centre.
“We were made to understand that the US, as a policy, cultivates relations with federal governments on foreign soil, keeping its long-term interests in mind,” the bureaucrat said.
Mr Naidu’s implementation of the World Bank-dictated economic agenda and his frequenting the World Economic Forum in Davos for investment opportunities put Hyderabad on the global map.
“Undoubtedly, his ability to pull off the Microsoft deal coupled with the emergence of Satyam Computers as a global player was an advantage and Mr Naidu maintaining good relations with diplomats in New Delhi added to our efforts,” an official who was at the helm of affairs during Mr Naidu’s tenure recalled. The Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government, which depended on Mr Naidu’s support, initially did not put any spokes in the wheel.
President Clinton visited Hitec City and Mahaveer Hospital, while Mr Bush went to the agricultural university to see its research facility and interact with women self-help groups in Rajendranagar and the Indian School of Business, where he announced that a US Consulate would be set up in the city.
Mr Naidu tried to take maximum advantage of President Clinton’s visit by repeatedly mentioning it in his speeches for years together. Dr Rajasekhar Reddy, however, never took credit for, nor made a mention of, the visit of President Bush. “He was not awed by the visit,” a close associate of YSR said, adding that if there was anything of importance to him (YSR) it was the Congress high command.