NTR's sons tussle over use of father's photographs

Hyderabad, April 8 (IANS) A row has broken out between the sons of NTR over using his pictures. N. Harikrishna, the elder son of the legendary Telugu actor and Telugu Desam Party's (TDP) late founder, Monday objected to younger brother N. Balakrishna's attempts to curb the practice.

The row started after the YSR Congress Party recently put up some banners and flex boards with portraits of NTR, as N.T. Rama Rao was popularly known, and his grandson and popular Telugu actor Junior NTR (whose real name is also N.T. Rama Rao), alongside pictures of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

Two days ago, Balakrishna, also a famous Telugu actor, had threatened to take legal action against the YSR Congress for using the pictures of his father.

"The pictures of god can be used and worshipped by anybody, but NTR is a founder and leader of a political party," he said. He also asked Junior NTR, the son of Harikrishna, to speak out against the use of his grandfather's photographs.

Harikrishna, a TDP leader and Rajya Sabha member, reacted angrily to Balakrishna's statement. Talking to reporters in Warangal, Harikrishna asserted that NTR was a people's man, and his photographs were free for public use.

"He is like a god. He belongs to all. His pictures are found in the house of every poor man," Harikrishna said, finding fault with his brother for targeting Junior NTR.

"Some fans (of NTR) may have used his pictures. Junior NTR has already said he would remain in the TDP till his last breath. How many times he should repeat that," asked the TDP politburo member.

NTR's daughter and central minister D. Purandareswari has also backed Harikrishna by stating that NTR is not an asset of just some people, and that his pictures could be used freely.

The flex banners were displayed in Krishna district during the walkathon of Sharmila, sister of Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, or Jagan as he is popularly called and is a YSR Congress leader now jailed on charges of corruption.

Harikrishna, who is unhappy that his brother-in-law and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has been projecting his son N. Lokesh as successor, also found fault with a remark by a party leader that using the portraits of NTR was "political prostitution".

The 56-year-old Harikrishna said: "What do you say about those who have been using NTR's pictures?"

He was alluding to Naidu using the portraits of NTR despite having staged a revolt against him in 1995.

Naidu had unseated his father-in-law NTR from power in 1995. Harikrishna and other family members had then supported Naidu. A few months later, in January 1996, NTR died of cardiac arrest.

Balakrishna's daughter was married to Naidu's son Lokesh a few years ago.

The 52-year actor, who along with Junior NTR, campaigned for the party in 2009 election, has already announced that he would contest next year's state assembly elections.

Junior NTR distanced himself from the party after Naidu started projecting his son as his successor.

Speculations over the young actor quitting the party started doing the rounds in July last year, when his friend and party legislator Kodali Nani joined the YSR Congress. Junior NTR, however, denied this and said he would remain in the TDP.

Political observers say Harikrishna's latest comments could start a war of succession in the party.

Meanwhile, Harikrishna suspects that Naidu is using his brother to target him.

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