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Is Naidu ready to embrace Jr NTR for TDP's sake?

19-08-201919-08-2019 15:38:15 IST
Updated On 19-08-2019 15:38:06 ISTUpdated On 19-08-20192019-08-19T10:08:15.371Z19-08-2019 2019-08-19T10:06:00.106Z - 2019-08-19T10:08:06.470Z - 19-08-2019

Is Naidu ready to embrace Jr NTR for TDP's sake?

TDP president Chandrababu Naidu is spending his time in Hyderabad after being dislodged from his Amaravati house by Krishna river floods. Despite being far away from ‘Ground Zero’, the shrewd politician is using every tactic up his sleeves to politicize the issue and push the YS Jaganmohan Reddy government into a tight corner.

The former chief minister is also meeting near and dear as part of family events. On one such occasion, Chandrababu Naidu has recently spent some quality time with the family members of Harikrishna on the late leader’s first death anniversary. The people he interacted with also includes Harikrishna’s younger son and Tollywood star Jr NTR, making it the most inevitable focal point for the media.

Even though it was a solemn occasion and Naidu’s meeting came as part of a courtesy visit, it refused to dampen speculations which sought to attach some serious political significance to it. Sources from the Nandamuri family as well as Naidu’s staff has clearly stated that the meeting was just part of a family gathering and politics were hardly discussed during this time.

Regardless of what really transpired, a photograph of Chandrababu Naidu, shaking hands with Jr NTR while elder brother Kalyan Ram is looking on, is certainly bringing the smiles back on several die-hard TDP fans. They just hope and pray this becomes the ever-lasting image even on the political front as they fancy the thought of Naidu bringing the young Nandamuri scion back onto the political centrestage.

Despite Naidu trying out all his wits to keep the party afloat, the TDP cadre and fans are still in a state of despondency, unable to digest party’s humiliating defeat in the elections. For them, more depressing was the defeat of Nara Lokesh from Mangalagiri and his failure in emerging out of his father’s shadows. Since then, the chorus has been growing in favour of Jr NTR to play the pivot and lead the party into the future.

Tarak, as Jr NTR is also called, is not entirely a political novice and his track record in shouldering the party’s campaigning several years ago is well-documented. But from the time Naidu decided to push his son Lokesh onto the highest pedestal of the party, the actor has been relegated into a state of insignificance. Jr NTR himself is keeping a safe distance from politics for several years now, refusing to respond to every political question.

The TDP is seriously in need of some young blood at this crucial juncture given the age of Chandrababu Naidu and the grim fact that no strong, second-rung leadership has been groomed. This obviously makes Jr NTR a curious case for many within and outside the TDP.

But will Naidu entertain this thought in the larger interest of the party and at the cost of his own son Lokesh is a million-dollar question. As a smart politician, Naidu is known for his deft moves aimed at momentary advantage even if it means some compromises on the personal front. This is the trait that, according to political observers, has prompted him to use Jr NTR’s services for the party in the past before the young star was abandoned.

Even if the TDP supremo is assumed to employ the same tactic now, it is not likely to pay similar dividends in the present context. Firstly, the political waters within the TDP’s reservoir are far too different in nature now. The party has been beaten badly and Lokesh, carrying the party’s hope as Naidu’s ‘heir apparent’, only flattered to deceive failing as a mass leader.

Any move to rope in Jr NTR now and the star succeeding in taking significant strides soon after will only mean end of the road politically for Lokesh, the observers feel. And as one of the greatest survivors of Indian politics, Naidu will be the last one to let this happen to his own son.

In this wake, it may be a bit premature to anticipate the presence of ‘the Junior’ in the party so soon and any such dreams, as prevalent among some TDP fans, would be nothing but ‘wishful thinking’ on their part.

-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru

Newssting Desk
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