NTR's family comes together for statue unveiling

NTR's family comes together for statue unveiling

Keeping aside their differences, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao's family members came together for the unveiling of his statue in parliament Tuesday.

Changing her decision at the last minute, NTR's second wife Lakshmi Parvathi also attended the function, a rare occasion that brought together the family of the late leader, who founded TDP in early 1980s on the slogan of Telugu self-respect.

Parvathi had said in Hyderabad Monday night that she would not be going to Delhi though she received a message saying she may attend the function if she desires.
She told reporters after the ceremony that Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar had clarified that she did not send invitations to anybody.

"She told me not to mind it. I also said sorry to her because I had threatened to file a case against her," said Parvathi, who was happy over NTR's family coming together for the occasion.

Parvathi, whom NTR had married in 1994, was never accepted as a part of the family after NTR's death in January 1996, a few months after his son-in-law N. Chandrababu unseated him from power following her alleged growing interference in party affairs and administration.

Meira Kumar unveiled the 9.3 feet bronze statue of NTR in the presence of Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, leader of opposition Sushma Swaraj, several union ministers and leaders of various political parties.

TDP chief Naidu, who received the invitation only on Tuesday, attended the ceremony with TDP MPs and other leaders.

NTR's actor sons N. Balakrishna, N. Harikrishna, grandson and popular actor Junior NTR, and other family members were also present. NTR's daughter and union minister D. Purandeswari, who donated the statue, was the centre of attraction.

Both Naidu and Parvathi had targeted Purandeswari for not receiving the invitations for the ceremony.

Though belonging to rival parties, Naidu, Purandeswari and her brothers all came together for the occasion and were seen exchanging pleasantries.

TDP MP Harikrisna and his son Junior NTR have been staying away from party activities for the last couple of years as they are reportedly unhappy with Naidu for promoting his son N. Lokesh as his successor. Interestingly, Naidu's wife Bhuvaneswari and Lokesh did not attend the ceremony.

Telugu superstar and now union tourism minister K. Chiranjeevi, actresses-turned MPs Jaya Prada and Rekha and famous Telugu actor Mohan Babu added glamour to the function.

Some Congress MPs from the state attended the ceremony but others who were not happy over the honour extended to NTR, stayed away.

NTR, a thespian who was worshipped as god by many, had created a record by coming to power within nine months after launching TDP, ending the monopoly of Congress in state politics. With revolutionary pro-poor schemes like Rs.2-a-kg rice and total prohibition, he became one of the greatest leaders in Andhra Pradesh's history.
NTR also played a key role in bringing together non-Congress parties at the national level to form the National Front.

His statue was unveiled after a 13-year controversy. Purandeswari, who joined Congress party in 2004, had been targeting Naidu for not coming forward to donate the statue, despite the concerned parliamentary committee giving its approval for installing the same in 2000. Naidu was then the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. He, however, blamed his successor Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy for creating hurdles.

After Tuesday's ceremony, Naidu said he was happy over the honour given to the late leader. The TDP chief also demanded the Bharat Ratna for NTR. He said NTR brought recognition to Telugus at the national level.

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