TDP seeks Bharat Ratna for NTR

TDP seeks Bharat Ratna for NTR
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The TDP is seemingly at its best rousing the Telugu sentiment by stepping up its demand for the highest civilian award of the Republic of India ‘Bharat Ratna’ for its founder and matinee idol NT Rama Rao posthumously.

Visakhapatnam: The TDP is seemingly at its best rousing the Telugu sentiment by stepping up its demand for the highest civilian award of the Republic of India ‘Bharat Ratna’ for its founder and matinee idol NT Rama Rao posthumously.

The plea gains ground in the TDP rank and file close on the heels of the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime played with Tamil sentiment by honouring MG Ramachandran posthumously with the same award.

TDP national president and AP Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated the session on the Day-1 of Mahanadu with an earnest request to the Centre to present the highest honour to his mentor and the departed leader.

The Day-2 session devoted a great deal of time to focus on the issue as part of the NTR’s 94th birth anniversary celebrations. It is the sixth time the Mahanadu had adopted a resolution favouring the county’s highest honour to the party founder. The current Mahanadu went a step ahead seeking to launch a signature campaign, exerting pressure on the Centre.

The Telugu self-pride which served as a bedrock for the TDP at the time of launching by NTR 35 years ago and helped his fledgling party to catapult itself into power, has been on the wane gradually after the death of NTR and emergence of Telangana as a separate state. The Telugu sentiment in Andhra took a beating post bifurcation following the denial of special category status.

The TDP leadership is understood to have decided to keep alive the Telugu sentiment by taking the issue of Bharat Ratna award for the iconic figure of Telugu people to its logical end. Close on the heels, party MP Kinjarapu Rammohan Naidu wrote to the Prime Minister’s Office insisting on the award for NTR a few days ahead of the party plenary.

When former CM of Tamil Nadu late J Jayalalithaa was able to lobby with the UPA regime for her mentor Ramachandran, is it a big deal for the TDP, given its clout with the NDA government at the Centre? “Of course, it is not a big problem. NTR’s widow Lakshmi Parvathi is a main hurdle,” former minister from the TDP told The Hans India at the Mahanadu venue.

As per the guidelines, the widow shall only receive the award on behalf of the recipient, if it is a posthumous honour. If the widow is not alive, children of the recipient will be allowed to receive the honour. Naidu and NTR’s family believe that the entry of Lakshmi Parvati into his life as a second wife is the reason for his downfall leading to his death. Therefore, the party top brass will obviously not allow the credit to go to NTR’s widow.

Lakshmi Parvati, talking to The Hans India, described the Mahanadu’s resolution for Bharat Ratna for NTR as a political stunt of Naidu to “fool” the people. “In fact, Chandrababu doesn’t like NTR to be honoured. When I met AB Vajpayee when he was the Prime Minister with a request for the award, the PM himself told me that Naidu was trying to scuttle the move,” she alleged.

The BJP, inside sources said, is privy to the fact that the Telugu sentiment was deeply hurt with the denial of the special category status and is determined to soothe their ruffled feelings by other means such as honouring NTR with the award.

This was reportedly vindicated in a `positive’ response to the party’s MP’s request from the Prime Minister’s office. It may be recalled that the NDA regime has unveiled a statue of NTR on the premises of Parliament recently and NTR’s daughter and BJP senior leader Daggubati Purandhareswari too is making moves in this direction on her part.

G Padmasekhar of Vijayawada, a diehard NTR fan associated with TDP right from its inception, contended that NTR who played key role in bringing all the anti-Congress forces under a single umbrella in national politics is a fit case.

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