NTR’s son, grandsons to campaign for TDP

September 7th, 2008 - 5:42 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Sep 7 (IANS) Desperate to return to power in Andhra Pradesh and to counter Telugu superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has roped in the family members of party founder and his father-in-law N.T. Rama Rao to campaign for the party.NTR’s sons N. Harikrishna and N. Balakrishna, and grandsons and young actors Junior NTR and Kalyanram Sunday met Naidu at the latter’s residence to discuss the strategy to counter the Praja Rajyam party launched by Chiranjeevi last month.

Balakrishna, a popular actor, and Junior NTR and Kalyanram agreed to campaign for TDP to help it come back to power in the state. Harikrishna is already active in the party as general secretary and Rajya Sabha member.

Naidu hosted lunch for the four members of NTR family at his residence. Balakrishna, whose daughter was married to Naidu’s son last year, played a key role in facilitating the crucial meeting, the second in four months.

According to TDP sources, it was decided that Balakrishna, Junior NTR and Kalyanram would unveil statues of NTR at different places and using their star appeal address public meetings to highlight the ideals of the party founder.

They would explain to people the good work done by TDP during its regime and the problems people had to face during the Congress rule. They would also address the party’s youth convention scheduled to be held in Guntur later this month.

Balakrishna, popularly known as Balaiah, is also expected to contest the 2009 elections on a TDP ticket.

The meeting was significant in view of Chiranjeevi launching his party and claiming to emerge as an alternative to the ruling Congress party. Naidu discussed ways to counter the Chiranjeevi factor as some top leaders have already deserted TDP.

Chiranjeevi is trying to repeat the feat of NTR, who came to power within nine months of floating the TDP in 1982.

This was the first time that NTR’s family had come together to throw their weight behind Naidu since the August 1995 developments that saw Naidu leading a revolt against NTR to replace him as the chief minister.

The thespian, who vowed never to forgive Naidu for ‘backstabbing’ him, died a broken man in January 1996.

Naidu, who remained in power till 2004, has realised that it would be difficult for him to return to power without the backing of the NTR family and has been trying to come closer to them.

Harikrishna, who had sided with Naidu during the revolt but later fell out with Naidu, returned to the party last year. Naidu came closer to the NTR family by marrying his son to the daughter of Balakrishna, who enjoys huge fan-following, next only to Chiranjeevi.

While Naidu has succeeded in winning the support of NTR’s sons and grandsons, NTR’s daughter N. Purandareshwari has said that she would never forgive Naidu for ‘backstabbing’ her father.

Purandareshwari, who along with her husband D. Venkateshwara Rao joined the Congress party before 2004 elections, is minister of state in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government.

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