Breaking its silence on the decision of Andhra Pradesh's YSRCP government to name one of the proposed new districts after TDP founder and former chief minister N. T. Rama Rao, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) on Thursday said that it welcomes the move to honour its founder.
In its first official reaction to the decision of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government to carve out a new district out of Krishna and name it after NTR, TDP dismissed the allegation of ruling party that TDP was opposed to the decision.
During a virtual meeting of strategy committee chaired by TDP national president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, the party wondered why they would oppose the naming of a new district as NTR district.
The TDP leaders said they welcome any move to honour the late leader no matter who makes it.
They, however, felt that NTR was not leader of just one region and hence they had been demanding Bharat Ratna for him.
The TDP leaders recalled that though then chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy dropped NTR from the name of Hyderabad Airport, they did not oppose the decision to name Kadapa district after him.
They claimed that TDP never adopted double standards.
The opposition party leaders said people would not believe YSRCP government's so-called love for NTR as the same party is involved in destroying statues of NTR and it stopped worked on a memorial for NTR in Amaravati.
They said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy even changed the name of NTR canteens.
The state government on Wednesday decided to create 13 new districts, taking the total number of districts to 26.
The new districts will come into being from Ugadi, the Telugu New Year. As per the notification issued by the government, NTR district will be carved out of present Krishna district with Vijayawada as the district headquarters.
Legendary actor NTR had had created a record by coming to power in then undivided Andhra Pradesh within nine months after floating TDP in 1982 on the plank of Telugu self-respect.
The mass leader was chief minister till 1989. He had led TDP back to power with a landslide victory in 1995. NTR died at the age of 72 on January 18, 1996, a few months after party leader and son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu led a revolt to throw him out of power.
The TDP and its leader had come under attack for its silence on the government's decision.
Several YSRCP leaders have questioned the silence of Chandrababu Naidu and other top leaders of TDP and said this raised questions about their love for the late leader.
Among NTR's children, only his daughter Daggubati Purandeswari, a leader of BJP, has welcomed the move of Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government.
Purandeswari, also a former union minister, hailed the decision. "As the daughter of great leder NTR, I welcome the decision to name the district where he was born after him. In fact this had been the wish of every person in the district. The wish is getting fulfilled now," she said.
NTR's son, TDP legislator and popular actor N. Balakrishna, on Thursday demanded that Hindupur should be the headquarters of proposed Sri Satya Sai district. He, however, was tight-lipped on the decision to create NTR district.
The TDP MLA from Hindupur said Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy should fulfill his poll promise to make every parliamentary constituency a district.
Balakrishna said Hindupur has seen all-round development and has all the advantages to be the district headquarters.
The government has announced that Sri Satya Sai district will be carved out of Anantapur with Puttaparthy as its headquarters. The new district is named after spiritual leader Satya Sai Baba.
Some TDP leaders in Krishna district welcomed the decision of YSRCP government to name a new district after NTR. They, however, demanded that Machilipatnam parliamentary constituency should be named as NTR Krishna district as Nimmakuru village where he was born falls under this constituency.
During his 'padyatra' before 2019 elections, Jagan Mohan Reddy had promised that Krishna district will be renamed as NTR district.
In an unusual development, some YSRCP workers on Thursday washed NTR's statue and Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's portrait with milk to hail the government's decision. Holding YSRCP flags, the ruling party functionaries did 'pala abhishekham' of NTR's statue and the chief minister's photograph in Vijayawada.