Hyderabad: Telugu Desam founder-president N T Rama Rao's son and Telugu film star Nandamuri Balakrishna has jumped into the poll fray for the first time as the party announced his name for Hindupur Assembly seat in Anantapuram district.
Hindupur was once represented by NTR himself and later for a term by his elder son Nandamuri Harikrishna. Balakrishna will be the third from the family to contest from the seat. Hindupur, in Anantapur district, has been a TD stronghold since 1983. Ever since the TDP's formation, Balakrishna always campaigned for it in every election but never entered the electoral battle.
On Saturday afternoon, Mr Naidu announced the candidature of Mr Balakrishna at his residence in the presence of TD sitting MLA from Hindupur, Mr Abdul Gani, who supported the decision.
However, in the second list of candidates for Seemandhra Lok Sabha and Assembly seats announced on Saturday morning, Mr Naidu did a balancing act by rejecting renomination of Dasari Balavardhana Rao, the sitting MLA from Gannavaram, a known supporter of Mr Balakrishna. Instead, he selected Vallabhaneni Vamsi, a strong supporter of actor Jr NTR.
But Mr Naidu promised to accommodate Mr Balavardhana Rao as chairman of Krishna Dairy Development Federation, considered to be a powerful body in Krishna district.
The TD president also rejected renomination of sitting MP from Narasaraopet, Mr Modugula Venugopal Reddy, in favour of five-time Congress MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao. It is learnt that Mr Venugopal Reddy will be given a ticket from one of the segments in Guntur.
Of the six Lok Sabha candidates, five are new entrants in the party. Former Congress minister J.C Diwakara Reddy has been given Anantapur Lok Sabha seat, while others are Adala Prabhakara Reddy (Nellore), Reddivari Srinivasulu Reddy (Kadapa), Galla Jayadev (Guntur). Actor Muralimohan, a senior leader of Telugu Desam has been offered Rajahmundry seat again.
Of the 40 Assembly candidates announced, a majority are sitting TD MLAs. J.C. Prabhakara Reddy, brother of Mr Diwakara Reddy, is the TD nominee from Tadipatri Assembly segment.
Former Congress ministers G. Kutuhalamma (G.D. Nellore), Galla Aruna Kumari (Chandragiri) are also the party nominees. MLC Satish Reddy who has been defeated thrice by late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy from the same segment has been fielded to take on Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.