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Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao ( ) (born Nimmakuru, Krishna Districtmarker, Andhra Pradeshmarker; 28 May 1923–18 January 1996), also known as NTR, was an actor, director, producer, and politician. He is the founder of Telugu Desam Party and served as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradeshmarker. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1968, recognizing his contribution to Telugu cinema. After his career in movies, Rao became a political activist and a political party leader. He is known as an advocate of Andhra Pradeshmarker's distinct cultural identity, distinguishing it from Madras State with which it was often associated

Career as an actor

He started his career playing a police inspector in the movie Mana Desam (1949).The role is offered by the legandary director L V Prasad.He portrayed Lord Krishna in Maya Bazaar, Sri Krishnaarjuna Yuddham, Dana Veera Sura Karna, Lord Rama (Lava Kusa), Bheeshma (Bheeshma), Ravana (Bhookailasa), and Arjuna (Nartanasala).

Generally, he played multiple roles in the same movie.

Rao's formal academic training was in Telugu literature under the tutelage of Dr. Vishwanatha Satyanaraya. . Rao authored several literary works including screen plays, treatise on the meaning of various puranas. During the making of Narthanasala, Rao was trained in classical Kuchipudi and Rudra Natyam under the tutelage Dr. Vempati Satyam. Rao and Satyam created various classical mudras (poses and manarisms) for male dancers...

He actively campaigned for the construction of a large number of movie theaters in rural locations and was influential in designing and implementing a financial system that funded the production and distribution of movies.

Rao produced four movies after he formally retired from the movie industry during the five years he was voted out of power. These movies "Samrat Ashoka", "Srimad virat veerabramhendra swami charita", "Srinadha Kavi Samrat", "Vishwamitra"

Politics

Telugu Desam Party

In 1982, NTR founded Telugu Desam Party and travelled across the breadth and depth of the state of Andhra Pradesh criss-crosiing all the districts in his Van dubbed Chaitanya Ratham (Chaitanyam literally means bringing to life or movement). This tour helped to mobilize people and find leaders / members for his newly founded party. His son Hari Krishna assisted him in his tour by being his driver and close confidante. The people's response to his campaign was enormous. People cheered him and supported him wherever he went. Congress Party which was in Government had panicked by the response and replaced the Chief Minister Bhavanam Venkataram with a more experienced and seasoned leader by name Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy. It was too late for Congress and Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy to win the people's confidence back. Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy who was Chief Minister for just over 3 months could not secure victory for the Congress Party in the ensuing elections in 1983 January. The newly formed Telugu Desam Party won with huge margins in all the three regions of the State (Coastal Andhra, Rayala Seema, and Telengana) winning over 200 seats in the 294 seat State Assembly. Congress could muster only 56 seats.NTR himself contested elections from two constituencies Tirupathi in Chittor District and Gudivada in Krishna districtmarker and won both the seats.

NTR campaigned on the plank of Restoring Self Respect for Telugu People and bringing the Governemnt in touch with the realities of the common folk. He believed the State must take care of the people that are below poverty line and everyone must have their basic necessities fulfilled. He campaigned to secure basic necessities such as home, clothes and food (popularly known as Koodu Goodu, Gudda) for everyone. He offered to provide Rice (the popular staple in AP) at 2 Rupees a Kilo and to provide subsidies on clothes and houses to the needy.

He went into the elections with the slogan Telugu vari Atma Gauravam, "Telugu people's self-respect." .

He was also an advocate of Women's rights. He worked on a Bill to amend Inheritance Law to provide equal rights for women to inherit ancestral property. The Amendment was enacted in 1986.

NTR was briefly removed from Office in August 1984 and his Finance Minister by name Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, a former Congress man, was made the Chief Minister by the then Governor Ramlal. Bhaskar Rao purportedly had the support of majority MLAs (Members of Legislative Assembly of Andhra Pradesh) which was never the case.

On Independence day, 15 August 1984, NTR was removed from office by Ramlal, the then governor of Andhra Pradesh. Nadendla Bhaskara Rao was appointed as Chief Minister. NTR disputed the claims by Bhaskara Rao and demonstrated his strength by bringing all the MLAs supporting him, which was a majority in the 294 member assembly, to the Raj Bhavan (Governor's Office). Governor Ramlal did not relent and NTR campaigned for restoration of Democracy by mobilizing the support of people and various political parties in the country including Janata Party headed by Chandra Shekhar, BJP headed by AB Vajpayee, CPI, CPM, DMK, and National Conference. During the one month crisis, the MLAs supporting NTR were secured in a secret place to avoid horsetrading.

Due to mobilization of several political parties and the people and due to bad press Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister and head of Congress Party, unwillingly removed the then Governor Ram Lal and appointed a congress party veteran Shankar Dayal Sharma as Governor of Andhra Pradesh to pave the way for restoring NTR. Shankar Dayal Sharma removed Bhaskara Rao from Power and restored NTR as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in September 1984. NTR recommended dissolution of the Assembly and called for fresh elections in the state to ensure the people had a fresh choice to elect their representatives.

In the following month on Oct 31, 1984 Indira Gandhi was assassinated, due to an entirely unrelated reason, by her Sikh bodyguard. Rajiv Gandhi became Prime Minister in Indira Gandhi's place. The choice to make Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister was made by the then President Giani Jail Singh who was an Indira Gandhi loyalist and a Sikh. Jail Singh for a brief period was upset with Indira Gandhi for Operation Bluestar (the code word for Army entering the Sikh Shrine to weed out Sikh terrorist Bhindran Wale and his associates). However, due to his personal loyalty to Indira Gandhi who made him the President of India and probably due to his fear about the safety of Sikhs in India after seeing the deadly riots on Sikhs, when hundreds of sikhs were burnt to death in Delhi in mob frenzy, following Indira Gandhi's assassination, the President decided on Rajiv Gandhi and administered him the oath of Office quickly.

In the ensuing national elections to the Lok Sabha, the Congress party won big all over the country except in Andhra Pradesh where NTR's Telugu Desam party won big. Senior Leaders of Congress party including Brahmananda Reddy, a former Chief Minister, and Vijaya Bhaskara Reddy, a former Chief Minister, lost in their constituencies of Narasarao Pet and Kurnool respectively to Telugu Desam Party. Telugu Desam became the main opposition party in the Lok Sabha.

Second Term

On his return to power, Rao abolished the Legislative Council of Andhra Pradesh, claiming it was a non-performing body which was just a burden on the state exchequer. He introduced management reforms that held corrupt government offices accountable to elected representatives. He changed the donation system for engineering and medical institutes and introduced EAMCET. He removed the grace mark system for high schools. He made it illegal for government college lecturers offering private tuitions.

Rao created a new commando force for the state He divested non-performing Allwyn State Manufacturing enterprise by selling it to Mahindra Machines.

Rao started low-income housing project and built 500,000 houses in five years to replace thached houses. The program continued for nine more years under his successor Naidu and added another 1 Million homes. The program continues to this day under Reddy's govt building another 300,000 houses under Reddy's five year term.

He built the largest bus station in Asia, commissioned the largest Buddha statue in the world at the time to highlight the Buddhist heritage and history of Andhra. He adorned 'Tank Bund' with the statues of literary personalities, warriors and kings of the past, thus creating a sense of heritage.

The Telugu Desam Party operations were significantly computerized and a systematic local party structure was built and this resulted in the establishment of a stable second political party that survived his death. Rao introduced the concept of strong states with strong center in his discussions about state power with Gandhi and ushered in a new era of empowered local governments, within the framework of India. The long held belief that strong states imply a weak and collapsing country is no more a political dogma that governs center state relations in India. He also lobbied and won the amendment of Hindu inheritance laws to give women equal rights in inheritance.

He suffered a mild stroke and was unable to campaign in the 1989 election, which he lost.

Third Term

N.T. Rama Rao returned to power in 1994 winning 250 seats (Telugu Desam won 216; CPI: 19; CPM: 15) for his party and his allies in a 294 seat Assembly. Congress party could win only 26 seats. BJP which contested 280 seats on its own could win only 3 seats..

Several leaders from other states including TN Chief Minister Jayalalitha of ADMK, Harikishan Singh Surjeet of CPM, and Surjit Singh Barnala of AkaliDal were present at NTR's swearing-in ceremony as Chief Minister. Krishna Kant the then Goveror administered the oath of Office to NTR. Congress party elected P. Janardhan Reddy, a popular leader from Hyderabad, as the leader of the Opposition party in the state assembly.

During the Campaign for this election, NTR made three main promises to the people, besides the promise of providing a better Government:1. Reintroduce two social welfare programs that were shelved by the Congress Government:
  a) Government subsidy on Rice for low income people. Under this program, Rice was
     made available at Rs 2 per KG for low income people.
  b) Mid-day meal scheme for school children from low income families
2. Introduce Prohibition. This was aimed as a welfare scheme for women in the poor families whose husbands were spending significant portion of their earnings on liquor.3. Provide subsidised Electricity to Farmers. Under this scheme, farmers need to pay just Rs 50/year for their power / electricity usage.

The Mid-day meal scheme led to the single biggest drop in child labor and increased primary school enrollment. .

Unlike Mr.Rao's Rs2/kg rice program all major state subsidies before Mr. Rao's tenure such as free bachelors degree education, free rail tickets for railway employees, free telephones for telecommunication employees, free electricity for electricity employees, free medical care for medical employees, free loans for bank employees, free housing for govt employees were targeted at the rich. His new social net programs aimed at the poorest and the most hard working of the poor were major political win for him.

Rao directed his tourism department to invest heavily into restructuring Tirupathi, Tirumala and Amaravathi into tourist destinations and into spiritual capitals of Andhra.

Second Crisis and Breakup of the TDP

In 1995, his son-in-law, Nara Chandrababu Naidu split Telugu Desam party on the pretext that NTR is ignoring the interests of loyal party workers and giving more importance to a small coterie headed by NTR's second wife Lakshmi Parvati. Naidu who was a Cabinet Minister in NTR's Government was incensed with the growing influence of Lakshmi Parvati and her purported interference in the Party and the Government.Naidu who was hoping he will succeed NTR, who was 73 years old then, as the next Chief Minister at a later date, sensed Lakshmi Parvati's intentions and wanted to cut her to size. Naidu already had several supporters among the MLAs whose election he funded, NTR claimed later that it came to his notice that Naidu was mobilising candidates by helping them financially, prior to the 1994 elections. It is a coincident that Naidu is also a former Congress man like Nadendla Bhaskara Rao, who led an unsuccessful coup against NTR. Naidu was the primary organizer who held the flock (MLAs) together and helped NTR during the 1984 crisis while NTR campaigned for restoration of democracy. During the first crisis in 1984 Naidu learnt how to mobilize MLAs and how to earn their confidence. This experience came in handy to Naidu during the second crisis which he himself initiated.

Naidu convinced most of the Telugu Desam Party's legislators to elect him as their leader, making him the chief minister.

Personal life

NTR married Basavatarakam in 1942. She died of Cancer in 1985. There is a Cancer Hospital established in her memory in Hyderabad. NTR got remarried in 1993 at the age of 70. His second wife Lakshmi Parvati started off as his biographer and later developed a relationship. NTR had seven sons and four daughters from his first marriage. Prominent among his children are Bhuvaneswari, wife of Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the chairperson of Heritage Foods; and Daggubati Purandeswari, MP and a Minister of State for Human Resources in Manmohan Singh's cabinet; Nandamuri Balakrishna a leading actor in the Telugu film industry; and Nandamuri Harikrishna, an actor turned politician and a member of Rajya Sabha (upper house of India's Parliament). Prominent among NTR's grandchildren are N. Kalyan Ram, N. T. Rama Rao Jr. and Taraka Ratna. (all three are actors in Telugu Cinema).

N.T. Rama Rao died on 18 January 1996 of a heart attack..Recently in 2007 NDTV,a popular television channel made a survey "who is the most popularly known person of andhra pradesh?". 73% of the people answered NTR

Filmography

References

External links


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