Tuesday, Dec 10, 2002
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By S. Nagesh Kumar
This photograph, published in a Telugu daily, gave an impression that Nagaraju, who has been booked in the past by police for committing grave offences in Karimnagar and Hyderabad, had been admitted into the party fold.
An immediate upshot was the protest raised by the TDP's Karimnagar district unit chief, G. Venkateswara Rao, and the Minister, M. Damodar Reddy against his ``admission.'' NTR Bhavan went into a tizzy to find out who had given membership to Nagaraju at a time when Mr. Naidu had given a call to the intelligentsia to join the TDP.
The TDP president himself found it necessary to disown the former naxalite at a meeting with `neutrals' on Sunday by saying that he was one of the many people shook hands with him daily. Ummareddy Venkateswarlu, Convenor of the State Election Committee, also issued a disclaimer that Nagaraju apparently wanted to use the picture to gain membership. "But, I have no information that he has been given membership anywhere,'' he said.
Embarrassed by this episode, the TDP leadership has asked its district units to delete from the rolls the names of all those involved in serious offences or controversies within the party.
On top of this, the party has received reports from districts that senior party leaders have been ignored in the drive due to oversight or due to infighting. One such is Allu Bhanumathi, former MLA and Vizag DCCB chairperson, who was left out due to lack of clarity whether she should be enrolled in Uttarapalli or Visakhapatnam.
The party has instructed all its district units undertake a drive on December 10 to enrol all those left out.
Meanwhile, eyebrows have been raised in party circles at the admission of Justice C. Sriramulu, retired Judge of the A. P. High Court, into the Telugu Desam Party. He had presided over the one-man commission of inquiry into the death of Mallela Babji by hanging to the ceiling fan in a lodge at Vijayawada in November 1987. Babji, it may be recalled, had stabbed the TDP's founder-president, N. T. Rama Rao, in the hand at a public meeting in Hyderabad.
In his conclusion, Mr. Justice Sriramulu observed, "All these circumstances go to show that N. T. Rama Rao lured Mallela Babji to enact a drama of a fake attack on him at Lal Bahadur stadium during the celebrations as per an understanding'' between them. He went on to add, "but, when Mallela Babji executed the drama, he found himself in the clutches of the law and he had to suffer and rot in the jail for aboue one year for no fault'' of his.
Reviewing the membership campaign, Mr. Venkeshwarlu said here today that the final figure of 74 lakhs might go up when the figures are tallied.
However, as expected the recalcitrant attitude of Nara Ramamurthy Naidu, younger brother of TDP president, and that of Paritala Ravi has adversely affected the numbers in Chandragiri and Penugonda constituencies respectively.
In both these constituencies, the membership stands at around 18,500 whereas in Kuppam, represented in the Assembly by the Chief Minister, as many as 44,000 ordinary members have been enrolled.
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