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TDP to unleash Junior NTR to counter Chiranjeevi

National,Politics, Thu, 20 Nov 2008 IANS

Hyderabad, Nov 20 (IANS) Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N.T. Rama Rao's grandson and popular Telugu actor Junior NTR is all set to campaign for the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).


After much dillydallying amid speculations of a rift in NTR family, Junior NTR agreed to campaign for the party with road shows from January.



TDP hopes that the 25-year-old actor, who resembles his grandfather and enjoys a huge fan following, will help the party counter superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi, who recently floated the Praja Rajyam party.



The move comes at a time when the Congress party is planning to unleash several actors including Nagarjuna, superstar of yesteryears Krishna and his young actor son Mahesh Babu.



Though NTR's actor sons and grandsons have already thrown their weight behind TDP, Junior NTR was maintaining a distance. TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu was desperate to garner his support as he is more popular than other members of the NTR family.



Junior NTR along with his father N. Harikrishna and uncle N. Balakrishna met Naidu on few occasions in the past but skipped the 'Yuvagrajna' public meeting held at Guntur Nov 5, triggering speculations of a rift in the family.



Junior NTR wanted an assembly ticket for his film producer friend Vallabhaneni Vamsimohan from Gannavaram constituency but his father and party politburo member Harikrishna and Kalyanram demanded that the party field former legislator Dasari Balavardhan Rao from the constituency.



There were reports that Junior NTR was also unhappy over the treatment meted out to his mother by the NTR family.



Naidu, who was worried over reports that NTR's daughter and central minister D. Purandareswari and others were trying to convince Junior NTR to campaign for the Congress, began frantic efforts to woo him.



The TDP president, during a meeting with Junior NTR Wednesday, reportedly promised to give ticket to his friend and convinced him to campaign for TDP.



TDP sources said the popular actor agreed to conduct road shows on the condition that he would not criticise the rival parties and the actors campaigning for them.



'As his film career is at its peak, he doesn't want controversies to affect his career,' said a TDP leader, requesting anonymity.



The actor will only appeal to people to support the party founded by his grandfather. As his uncle Balakrishna, also a popular actor, is launching a 'yatra' next month, Naidu wanted him to conduct road shows in January.



NTR created record of sorts by coming to power within nine months after forming TDP in 1982.



Naidu had led a revolt against his father-in-law NTR to become the chief minister in August 1995 after Lakshmi Parvati, whom NTR married just before the 1994 polls, was emerging as a power centre. NTR died of cardiac arrest five months later.



Naidu, who lost power to the Congress in 2004, is banking heavily on NTR charisma to regain power.



Elections to the state assembly are scheduled in March-April next year.


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