Mahanadu begins amid fanfare
The three-day annual event of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Mahanadu, got off to a colourful start at Gandipet - on the outskirts of Hyderabad - on Wednesday. Yellow flags on either side of the road welcomed the party functionaries from the NTR Trust Bhavan, the party headquarters in Hyderabad, to the Mahanadu venue. Vehicles, carrying party leaders, pasted with TDP stickers were seen zooming past all along the way.
The yellow brigade, drawn from different parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, gathered for the jamboree, were seen greeting one another. Some wearing the yellow shirts while sporting scarfs of the same shade began arriving from morning itself. As Hindupur MLA and Tollywood actor Bala Krishna arrived at the venue, the whole gathering stormed in to have a glimpse of their favourite actor.
Lokesh, the son of party supremo Chandrababu Naidu, was the cynosure of all eyes. The young leader was seen moving all around, giving directions to the organisers to make the ambience appear friendly for all. The party leaders were seen discussing as to when Lokesh will be officially declared as the party’s working president. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu was welcomed by Bathukammas, as he walked on to the dais. The conclave began as he hoisted the party flag, followed by lighting the traditional lamp amid thunderous applause.
The wedding invitation of Telugu Desam Party founder Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao and Basava Tarakam which was part of the photo exhibition at Mahanadu attracted huge crowds. The wedding was ceremonised at Komaravolu in Krishna district on May 2, 1942. The photo of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu with TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya also was a big draw.
While some were murmuring as to why KCR’s photo was a part of the expo, others claimed that it amply reflects the magnanimity of Chandrababu. The seating arrangement on the dais was frequently pointed out by the partymen. They claimed that equal importance was given to leaders from both TS and AP. The left side to Chandrababu was arranged for leaders from Telangana while the leaders from AP were occupied the right. Several TDP leaders, including Chandrababu Naidu, were seen wearing yellow shirt and white trouser, Bala Krishna and Lokesh were in their casuals.
Spl fund for party workers
Budding politician, Lokesh in his maiden address to Mahanadu on the inaugural day on Wednesday said that the TDP had a whopping 54 lakh membership in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. He added that it was achieved in a record time of 50 days by using latest technology.He said that some party functionaries had even sold their properties to become the members of TDP. “It is the duty of leadership to come to the rescue of such staunch supporters when they are in trouble,” he said. Thus, he proposed to introduce fund for their welfare and when this was taken to the notice of the party president.
TDP chief not only approved it, but also proposed setting up of a separate cell for them. This is the commitment of the party towards its cadre, he said. Lokesh said that he met over 50,000 people in the past 11 months and received about 14,000 appeals on various issues. “I have already disposed of 9,000 of them. As many as 450 youth are employed and a skill development centre is also set up behind the NTR Trust Bhavan to train them in various fields,” he added. Lokesh added that the accident insurance was an innovative scheme introduced for the first time to its workers and the TRS had tried to copy it from the TDP and miserably failed.
Membership drive in TN, K’taka
The TDP on Wednesday proposed amendments to the existing by-laws governing its organisational structure during the ongoing Mahanadu conclave. The decision was taken in view of the bifurcation of the State. Among the various amendments proposed, the most important was the decision to replace the term ‘State’ with country. The move of the party would help in realisation of its aim to become a national party. The process of changing the by-laws is expected to be adopted on the final day of Mahanadu.
Speaking at the three-day conclave, party chief and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed hope that TDP would spread its reach beyond Andhra Pradesh and Telangana States.In the wake of bifurcation, TDP recently decided to evolve into a national party to function effectively in both the States and was taking steps towards this goal. It has started membership drive in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka besides the Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands which have sizeable Telugu-speaking population.
Naidu said that the road ahead and the steps to be taken to become a national party would be discussed at the conclave. The party leadership has already decided to set up a central committee for the first time in TDP’s 33-year-old history. The party had also decided to have State-level committees for Telangana and AP States headed by the leaders from both the two States. Naidu is expected to head the committee.
Delivering the inaugural address, the party chief said that the party would play dual roles as the ruling party in AP and an opposition in Telangana. He added that the role of alliance partner at the Centre would also be discharged by it.
Addressing the gathering later in the day on the first day of the conclave, Naidu’s son Lokesh, the coordinator for party workers’ welfare fund, said TDP had introduced measures such as an insurance cover for party workers and a skill development centre to train workers besides offering help in providing jobs and education to their families. There has been speculation in party circles that Lokesh could play a greater role in the party affairs in the coming days.
Unsavoury incidents in meet
The first day of the mega event of Mahanadu did not end on a positive note. Tollywood hero and Hindupur MLA Bala Krishna entered into an argument with the police.While Balaiah, as he is fondly known, arriving at the venue by his limousine, the police asked him to park his car at the VIP parking slot and go by walk to the venue. An unrelenting Bala Krishna drove straight to the entrance gate and the security personnel followed his car.
After getting down from his expensive four-wheeler, Balaiah began shouting at the police for their daring step to stop his car. Stating that he was the MLA of Hindupur and how dare the police were to stop his car, an angry Bala Krishna walked in a huff into the venue.
In another incident, TDP workers and the police blocked entry of senior party leader and MLA of Palasa, Shyam Sunder Reddy. As he got down from his car and tried to enter the venue, the police first demanded his identity card.
Asserting that he is a six-time MLA, he flashed his id card. But the police paid no heed and pushed him aside. Joining the police, party workers also asked the MLA’s party identity card which he did not produce as he was not carrying it Later, talking to media persons, he said the party did not issue him any TDP ID card. Later, Chittoor MP Siva Prasad intervened and took the Palasa MLA inside the Mahanadu venue.