He is still recovering from injuries suffered in a road accident last month. But popular Telugu actor Junior NTR is back to campaigning for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) from bed and - going by the response - doing a good job of it.
The grandson of the legendary NTR is addressing people from bed at his residence in Hyderabad, giving a boost to the party's campaign hours before the end of electioneering for the first the phase of Lok Sabha and assembly polls on Tuesday.
In a televised address on Monday night, the star made a powerpacked appeal to the electorate to defeat the ruling Congress party. Resuming from where he had left off, he tried to invoke Telugu pride by referring to the "ill-treatment" meted by the Congress to "Telugu bidda (son)" former prime minister P V Narasimha Rao even after his death.
Lying in bed with bandages on his body and a huge portrait of TDP founder NTR in the background, the actor appealed to voters to open bank accounts to receive the money promised by the TDP to the poor if voted to power.
"Don't waste your vote for Rs 500. If you vote for the TDP, you will get Rs.2,000 every month, Rs 24,000 every year and nearly Rs 1,25,000 in five years," he said.
TDP has promised that if voted to power it will introduce a cash transfer scheme, under which Rs 2,000 per month will be paid to poorest of the poor, Rs 1,500 to the poor and Rs 1,000 to middle class families. The party has also promised a free colour television to every poor family.
"The Congress is criticising the TDP's promises saying (party chief) N. Chandrababu Naidu was against freebies during his rule. But you look at the state's revenues that time. It was only Rs 8,000 crore. Thanks to the efforts of the TDP during those nine years, the state's revenues have gone up 10 times. The Congress is eating away this money but the TDP wants to give it to the poor," he said.
The address, full of the original NTR's trademark theatrical punches and sarcasm, was telecast live. It was also screened at the joint meeting of the TDP-led Grand Alliance in Visakhapatnam. TDP chief Naidu was visibly excited after watching it along with other speakers.
The TDP is now keen to have more such speeches by the actor during campaigning for the second phase.
Junior NTR, who has an uncanny resemblance to NTR, had hit the campaign trail and received a huge public response last month. However, the accident March 26 put an abrupt end to his road shows.
So powerful were his speeches during roads shows in four districts that the TDP is still using those clippings for its campaign on a dozen Telugu television channels.