With Harikrishna as charioteer, Naidu evokes NTR’s legacy

April 22nd, 2008 - 4:10 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, April 22 (IANS) He played the lucky charioteer for his father and legendary Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N.T. Rama Rao in many a campaign. Now N. Harikrishna is back at the wheels - this time for his brother-in-law and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Naidu, the former chief minister and TDP chief who is leaving no stone unturned to be back in power in the state, has launched a 50-day long rath yatra called ‘Mee Kosam’, aimed at exposing the ‘misrule’ of the Congress government.

And he has roped in Harikrishna, who is also a Telugu film actor, to drive his ‘rath’ or campaign vehicle. The rath was flagged off from Chandragiri town in Naidu’s home district Chittoor Monday.

Naidu’s decision to rely on Harikrishna as the charioteer is yet another attempt by him to evoke the legacy of the legendary NTR. He has already roped in another son of NTR, N. Balakrishna, and grandson Jr. NTR for the yatra. The popular Telugu actors will address public meetings during the campaign at a few places.

Harikrishna, who was recently made member of the Rajya Sabha, was the charioteer of NTR’s famous ‘Chaitanya Ratham’ campaign. The thespian emerged victorious nine months after launching the TDP in 1982. He returned to power in 1985 and 1994 and on all the occasions his son steered his chariot.

However, Harikrishna had sided with Naidu when the latter led a revolt against NTR in August 1995. NTR died a few months later. Harikrishna, who became a minister in Naidu’s cabinet, later parted ways and quit the party.

Naidu, who remained chief minister till 2004, brought Harikrishna back into the party last year. In another attempt to get closer to NTR’s family, he married his son to the daughter of Balakrishna.

Desperate to return to power, Naidu feels that invoking the NTR legacy would earn him votes in the next year’s elections and also help to counter moves by Telugu superstar Chirnajeevi to launch a new political party.

Naidu’s current ‘yatra’ is a precursor to the party’s election campaign and coincides with the by-elections to four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly constituencies May 29. The mass resignations by Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) legislators over the issue of a separate Telangana state necessitated the by-polls.

Naidu’s attempts to woo NTR’s sons have evoked a sharp reaction from NTR’s daughter and union minister D. Purandareswari. While cautioning her brothers against falling into the trap of the ‘opportunist’ Naidu, she declared that she would never forgive him for ‘backstabbing’ her father.

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