Few days into campaigning and the Andhra politicians have turned to sleaze. Family ties, or absence of them, are poll fodder, and larger the crowd, viler are the insinuations.
Jr NTR (Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao), a popular actor and grandson of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder NTR, is its latest victim. He is drawing huge crowds as he rallies support for the TDP-led Grand Alliance of four opposition parties. Unsettled by the response the young actor — he is just 25 — is getting, opponents have been questioning his ties with the NTR family.
"You must ask your father Harikrishna to accord proper marital status to your mother," minister and Congress leader Mohammed Ali Shabbir said.
Jr. NTR is the son of N Harikrishna, NTR’s son, and his second wife, Kalpana. The family, including NTR, never accepted Kalpana, who lives separately as Harikrishna continues to live with his first wife.
D. Venklateshwar Rao, NTR's son-in-law and husband of Union minister and Congress leader D. Purandareswari, told the young actor that he remained an outsider in the NTR clan.
“Has the family accepted your mother as a member?” asked Lakshmi Parvathy, NTR's widow, and sermonised him to first get justice for his mother and then others.
The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP), too, has jumped into the dirt campaign.
Earlier this month, party leader Sobha Rani and TDP’s women wing president Roja not only called each other names, but also hurled charges of promiscuous behaviour.
Rani was the first to have a go at Roja, a popular filmstars of yesteryears with several awards to her credit.
Roja hit back, accusing PRP founder and actor Chiranjeevi and his actor-brother Pawan Kalyan of seeking sexual favours from the women in the film industry.
Andhra assembly and Lok Sabha election will be held simultaneously, next month.