Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder
N.T. Rama Rao's larger-than-life statue is set to be unveiled in
Parliament House Tuesday. TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and NTR's
widow Lakshmi Parvathi, however, were not invited, much to their
After wrangling over the installation of the statue for 13 long
years, NTR's family members are now playing the blame game over
not receiving the invitations.
TDP chief and NTR's son-in-law N. Chandrababu Naidu, who claims to
inherit the political legacy of the late leader, and the TDP
founder's second wife Lakhsmi Parvathi, say that they have not
received invitations to the ceremony because of NTR's daughter and
union minister D. Purandeswari.
While TDP MPs Monday called on Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar to
lodge their protest, Lakshmi Parvathi threatened to move the
However, giving a new twist to the row, Purandeswari claimed
Monday that the invitations were sent to Naidu and his wife
Purandeswari, who joined Congress party in 2004 and is serving as
a minister of state at the centre for a second term, has donated
the nine-foot-three-inch tall bronze statue, which weighs 900 kg.
She had always targeted Naidu for not sponsoring the statue
despite the decision by the parliamentary committee on statues and
portraits to install NTR's statue way back in 2000. Naidu was then
chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
The allegations have triggered a war of words between them on many
NTR's son and film actor N. Balakrishna hit back at his sister and
defended Naidu, who blamed his successor Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy
for not donating the statue.
Balakrishna, whose daughter is married to Naidu's son, is not
likely to attend the ceremony, though he is reported to have
received the invitation. However, NTR's elder son N. Harikrishna
and grandson and popular actor Junior NTR are flying to Delhi to
be present during the ceremony.
Harikrisha, a member of the Rajya Sabha, is keen to see Junior NTR
inherit the political legacy of NTR. He is reportedly unhappy with
Naidu over his attempts to groom his son N. Lokesh as his
"If the speaker doesn't invite the wife of the leader whose statue
is being installed, she is unfit to hold the key post," NTR's
widow Lakshmi Parvathi said, as she also blamed Purandeswari.
NTR had married Parvathi, his biographer, just before the 1994
elections, which saw TDP returning to power in the state. However,
her growing interference in party affairs and administration led
to Naidu staging a revolt in August 1995. He became chief minister
with the support of Harikrishna and other family members.
After NTR's death in January 1996, Parvathi went into political
oblivion. Purandeswari, her husband D. Venkateshwara Rao and some
other family members targeted Naidu on many occasions for what
they call "backstabbing" NTR.
A popular actor, NTR had floated the TDP in 1982 on the slogan of
"Telugu self-respect". Creating a record of sorts, he came to
power within nine months of the formation of the TDP, ending the
monopoly of the Congress party in state politics.
With pro-poor schemes like the Rs.2-per-kg rice and total
prohibition, he went on to become the most popular politician in
the state's history.