Telugu Desam Party (TDP) urged the NDA government, of which it is a constituent, to confer the Bharat Ratna, the nation's highest civil award, on party founder and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister NT Rama Rao. On Wednesday, the TDP passed a resolution at its 'Mahanadu' or the annual conclave here to demand the highest civilian award for the actor-turned-politician.
See photos: NT Rama Rao's 91st Birth Anniversary
Addressing the 'Mahanadu', party chief N Chandrababu Naidu said NTR, as the late TDP founder was popularly known, deserved the award for his contribution to cinema and politics and also his services to the nation. "It is the desire of every Telugu that Bharat Ratna be conferred on NTR. We appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accept this long-pending demand of the Telugu people," Naidu, who is the son-in-law of NTR, said amid loud cheers by the party delegates.
The late leader enjoyed unparalleled popularity both in the film world and in the politics, he said. Naidu, who is set to take over as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh following his party's victory in the recent elections, also urged the central government to rename the Hyderabad airport after NTR.
He said though it was the TDP government which got the approval for the new airport, the Congress government, under a conspiracy, removed NTR's name. The new international airport at Shamshabad on the city outskirts is named after late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The domestic terminal at old airport in the city was named after NTR while the international terminal carried the name of late prime minister. Naidu hoped that with TDP's Ashok Gajapathi Raju taking over as the minister for civil aviation, the Hyderabad airport would be renamed as NTR airport.
NTR, a popular Telugu actor, had launched the TDP in 1982 on the slogan of Telugu self-respect and created record of sorts by coming to power within nine months, ending the single party rule of Congress in the undivided Andhra Pradesh. He died in January 1996, a few months after Naidu led a revolt in the party and became the chief minister.
The TDP holds its convention every year to coincide with the birth anniversary of NTR.