With intense groupism among Non-Resident Telugus (NRTs) threatening to mar Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu's upcoming nine-day official trip to the US, a state government body today asked them to aviod "groupism" and make "exclusionary" statements. Chandrababu, along with a 12-member delegation, is scheduled to land in the US on November 13 and stay there till November 21 visiting Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Chicago, New York and New Jersey, in what will be his first tour of America after becoming Chief Minister in June 2014. A private jet has been lined up for Chandrababu's exclusive use in the US. "This is a government programme and has to be inclusive. Please avoid groupism and exclusionary statements," the AP Non-Resident Telugu Society, the state government body that is coordinating the tour, cautioned the NRTs in an email. The main purpose of Chandrababu's visit is to seek investments into the state and also make NRTs adopt villages in AP under the ambitious Smart Village programme. "Some 800 NRTs are currently contributing to the Smart Village programme in different forms.
Our objective is to ensure at least 1000 villages in AP are adopted for all-round development in tune with the Smart Village concept," APNRT Society Chief Executive Officer Vemuru Ravi Kumar told PTI. "Unlike in the past, we now put in place an institutional mechanism to channelise funds and programmes in a totally transparent manner," he added. While he will stay only for a day in Chicago (on November 19), Chandrababu will spend two days in each of the other places, according to the itinerary chalked out by the APNRT Society. "Each of the designated towns will host two meetings for NRTs, one for Smart Village adopters and the other for general public," according to the Society email. But what has become a worrying factor ahead of the tour is the growing groupism among the Telugus in their adopted country. Not just on regional basis but they are grossly divided on caste lines and there are local associations in the US exclusively for different castes. "When Chandrababu's son Lokesh came here last year, there was a lot of commotion as these different groups virtually fought with each other. The situation has only worsened in the last one year with some new (caste) groups springing up," an NRT businessman, who has been invited for a one-on-one meeting with Chandrababu, said. Hence, the APNRT Society issued "guidelines" to NRTs specifically asking them to "avoid groupism", he pointed out. The NRTs are now busy in the US to fix appointments with some Senators, Congressmen and state Governors for Naidu. There will be clarity on this expectedly by the first week of November.
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