Wednesday, 19 March 2008

NTR family to hit roads for Babu


March 18, 2008
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, March 17: Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has come closer to NTR's family after he tactfully nominated Nandamuri Harikrishna to the Rajya Sabha despite strong pressure from the BC lobby in the party.
Harikrishna, who has been associated with the Telugu Desam ever since his father NT Rama Rao floated it in early 1980s, is regarded as an elderly person by the family members. With his nomination to the Upper House of Parliament, Chandrababu Naidu has re-established the ties with the family after a gap of more than a decade.
NTR's family initially sided son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu after the party witnessed a vertical split following the Lakshmi Parvati episode in 1995. But the family members, particularly Harikrishna, distanced themselves from Chandrababu Naidu within a couple of years. Now 12 years later, the TD supremo has politically patched up with the family in the hope of making it big at the hustings.
Chandrababu Naidu's political gesture towards Harikrishna has in fact come in as a bonanza to the Telugu Desam, which is plagued by infighting and dissidence in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema and by the separate Telangana demand in the backward region.
According to NTR Bhavan sources, the entire NTR family barring the Daggubatis - Union Minister Purandareswari and her husband-legislator Venkateswara Rao - has now pledged support to the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu following the RS nomination.
Harikrishna's younger brother and film actor N Balakrishna has gone on record saying that he would campaign for the Telugu Desam in the crucial Assembly elections scheduled for May 2009, which will test the very survival of the party. A defeat in 2009 polls will make the TD quite weak politically. Keeping this in view, Harikrishna has decided to rein in his son, actor Junior NTR and a host of film personalities from the Tollywood to campaign for the TD, besides Balakrishna.
The Telugu Desam's "cultural cell", which is inactive now, is being revived personally by Harikrishna. Efforts are on to utilise the services of the who's who of the Tollywood for the electoral success of Chandrababu Naidu.
Giving a glimpse of how the Telugu Desam's electoral campaign will be star-studded next year, Harikrishna invited a host of senior film directors, producers, actors and actresses to the NTR Bhavan before he left to the Assembly to file RS nomination papers. Since Harikrishna himself has strong roots in the Tollywood, his active role in the Telugu Desam is likely to boost the party's electoral image at least in rural
areas where film personalities are a craze.

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