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NTR’s family still holds a significant place in AP political arena

NTR’s family still holds a significant place in AP political arena
Notwithstanding the criticism against political dynasties, some families still continue to rule the people and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder late Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao’s kin occupy a special place in Telugu politics.

The charisma associated with NTR’s family is still afresh in people’s memory so much so that even after more than two decades of his death, his legacy dominates the political scene in the state.

With the state gearing up to hold the polls simultaneously for the Assembly and Parliamentary constituencies on April 11th, the name, portraits and statues of NTR form an integral part of TDP’s campaigning, led by his son-in-law N. Chandrababu Naidu. The 2019 elections will see the third generation of NTR in the political arena with Chandrababu Naidu fielding his son Lokesh in the polls. 

NTR’s family is not confined to the TDP alone, they are into different parties. NTR took a plunge into politics in 1980s to end the monopoly of the Congress and he succeeded in bringing a change in the political landscape in the state. 

Considered a demi-god by the masses, the matinee idol rose to power within 9 months of floating the TDP, with the ideal of protecting Telugu self-respect. His second marriage, to Lakshmi Parvati, created a rift in the family.  

In 1995, his son-in-law led a revolt against NTR, on the ground that they were not able to withstand the growing interference of Parvati in the administration and party affairs. Naidu was supported by NTR’s sons and daughters and he became the Chief Minister.

At 72, NTR died of cardiac arrest while his wife Basavatarakam died of cancer in 1985. He had 8 sons and 4 daughters but it was his son-in-law who carried forward NTR’s legacy. Parvati claimed political legacy but could not gain public support to it. At present, she is with the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), the main Opposition Party in the state. 

Now, a son and a daughter of NTR, two sons-in-law, including Naidu, and his grandson are active in politics, in different political parties. 

NTR floated TDP on an anti-Congress plank but later, his daughter Daggubati Purandeswari and his son-in-law Daggubati Venkateswara Rao joined the Congress in 2004. Having worked as a Union minister in the UPA government, she switched loyalty to the BJP in 2014. This election year, she is contesting for the Vizag LS constituency. Her husband is with the YSRCP and is contesting for Parchur Assembly constituency.

NTR’s son and actor N. Balakrishna is seeking re-election from Hindupur Assembly constituency on a TDP ticket. He is also the father-in-law of Lokesh contesting from Mangalagiri Assembly segment. Balakrishna’s second son-in-law M. Sribharat is contesting for Vizag LS constituency opposite Purandeswari.

Naidu, who had been grooming his son Lokesh, as his political successor faced resistance from NTR’s son N. Harikrishna, who died in a road mishap recently. He wanted his son and popular actor Jr NTR to take the mantle of the TDP. No member of NTR’s family is into active politics in neighbouring Telangana.

Naidu had fielded Harikrishna’s daughter and NTR’s half-sister Suhasini from Kukatpally Assembly constituency in Hyderabad, in the recently held Telangana Assembly polls but she lost to the TRS candidate.

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