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NTR's daughter in fray

It is a battle royal in the Bapatla LS constituency in coastal AP as NT Rama Rao's daughter takes on her husband's uncle, a well-known film producer.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2004 21:12 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service
PTI
Hindustantimes

It is a battle royal in the Bapatla parliamentary constituency in coastal Andhra Pradesh as former chief minister NT Rama Rao's daughter takes on her husband's uncle who is also a well-known film producer.

The very mention of Daggubati Purandareswari, NTR's daughter, as a Congress candidate looks strange because NTR founded the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982 and ended its monopoly in state politics.

But Purandareswari and her husband Daggubati Venkateswara Rao see nothing wrong in it and are even evoking NTR's name to seek votes.

While Purandareswari is contesting for the Lok Sabha, her husband is a Congress candidate from the Parchur assembly segment, a part of the same parliamentary constituency.

Felt betrayed by his co-brother N Chandrababu Naidu, Venkateswara Rao not only joined the Congress party but also dealt a blow to the TDP by roping in his wife.

Purandareswari, the second of the four daughters of NTR, feels the TDP under Chandrababu Naidu is not the party that her father founded.

"Had he (NTR) been alive he would not have raised any objection," she said, responding to criticism that she was using the name of the TDP founder although she was a Congress candidate.

In turn, she questions Naidu's right to use her father's name.

The campaigning by the couple is interesting for voters and embarrassing to a few Congress leaders. One finds NTR's portrait along with the pictures of Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi at her campaign meetings.

While refraining from making any personal attack on Chief Minister Naidu for his revolt against NTR, Purandareswari feels the present TDP had moved away from the ideals of NTR and argues that it was the Congress that was working for the goals set by her father.

The battle in Bapatla is more interesting because she is facing none other than the uncle of her husband, Daggubati Rama Naidu.

Rama Naidu won the seat in 1999 and this time he was reluctant to contest saying he did not like fighting against his own family members. The TDP, however, persuaded him to contest.

Both Purandareswari and her husband appear confident of making it to the Lok Sabha and assembly respectively. While NTR's daughter is a political novice, her husband has served as member of the Rajya Sabha.