Telugu Desam president, N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday revived his party’s demand that the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport be named after former Chief Minister, N. T. Rama Rao.
Paying tributes to NTR on his 91st birth anniversary at the party’s annual conference, Mahanadu, here, Mr. Naidu said the party was confident of achieving its goal of renaming the airport as its Lok Sabha MP, Ashok Gajapathi Raju was now the Civil Aviation Minister. He also raised the party’s old demand that Bharat Ratna be conferred on NTR.
His comment on the Shamshabad airport near Hyderabad is bound to kick up a row as it is part of Telangana now where the party’s arch rival, TRS holds sway and its government would be in place on June 2. TDP is not sure how the Chief Minister-designate, K. Chandrasekhar Rao would react to its renaming demand.
TDP had been consistently making this demand before the inauguration of the airport in March 2008 by AICC president, Sonia Gandhi and even organised protests. The party’s argument was NTR’s name was already there when the airport was at Begumpet. While the domestic terminal had NTR’s name, the international terminal was named after former Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.
By ignoring the demand, the Congress had insulted both NTR and Telugus, the party leaders had argued then, while taking credit for doing all the ground work including acquisition of land for the new airport. They had wondered why should all the projects across the country should be named after members of Nehru- Gandhi family and not others especially regional leaders whose contribution to nation building was no less.
Brushing aside their demand, the former Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhar Reddy selected Rajiv Gandhi’s name and had invited Ms. Gandhi to inaugurate the first green field airport in the country.