NTR’s son Balakrishna enters politics at massive public meetNovember 5th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS
Guntur (Andhra Pradesh), Nov 5 (IANS) Adding further glamour to Andhra Pradesh politics, former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao’s son and popular actor N. Balakrishna Wednesday took the plunge into active politics as the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) held a massive show of strength to counter superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.Over a million people attended the mammoth meeting on the sprawling campus of Acharya Nagarjuna University near here as TDP blew the poll bugle to take on the ruling Congress party and its new adversary Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party.
The legacy of TDP founder NTR took centre stage at the meet titled ‘yuva garjana’ or roar of the youth to counter the mega show held by Chiranjeevi at Tirupati on Aug 26 while launching his party.
Balakrishna, whose popularity is comparable to that of Chiranjeevi, vowed to help bring TDP back to power. Describing his father as the ‘Telugu lion’, he told the crowds how he formed the party to give self-respect to the Telugu people and served them.
Appealing to TDP workers to throw out the Congress government, Balakrishna said this would give peace to his late father.
“After seeing the huge crowds, I have no doubt that TDP will come back to power and Chandrababu Naidu will once again become chief minister,” he said amid loud cheers by his fans and TDP activists.
Naidu, in his speech, hit back at the Congress government for misrule, corruption and lawlessness and appealed to people to throw it into the Bay of Bengal. He promised 40 percent seats to the youth in the coming assembly elections.
Besides Balakrishna, his brother and TDP MP N. Harikrishna and NTR’s grandsons Tarakaratna and Kalyan Ram were the centre of attraction as TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu tried to use NTR’s legacy to infuse new life into the party.
It was a sea of humanity on the 70-acre university campus as huge cut-outs of NTR, Balakrishna and other heirs of NTR were installed all around.
Two small aircraft showered flower petals on the dais and on the crowd. TDP leaders claimed that 1.5 million people attended the rally. So huge was the crowd that the Chennai-Vijayawada national highway No.5 was clogged. There were massive traffic jams up to 50 km on either side.
Naidu, Balakrishna and Harikrishna reached the venue by two helicopters as thousands of vehicles were stranded on all the roads leading to the venue.
While Naidu succeeded in roping in majority of NTR’s family members, he failed to convince NTR’s grandson and popular actor Junior NTR, who had initially agreed to address the meet but later decided to stay away following differences with Naidu.
NTR, a popular filmstar, formed the TDP in 1982 and created a record of sorts by coming to power within nine months, ending the monopoly of Congress in the state politics.
NTR, who was unseated in a coup led by his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu in August 1995, died five months later.
Naidu, who retained power in 1999, remained chief minister till 2004 when the Congress returned to power.