The 13-year-old controversy over installation of the statue of TDP founder president N.T. Rama Rao in Parliament House has developed fresh strains at the goal post with the TDP nursing a grouse that it did not receive invitations from the Lok Sabha Speaker’s office for the unveiling ceremony on May 7.
The TDP Parliamentary Party led by Nama Nageswara Rao will lodge a formal complaint with Speaker Meira Kumar on Monday morning.
TDP Rajya Sabha member Sujana Chowdary told The Hindu that the invitations were neither received from the Speaker nor Union Minister and NTR’s daughter, D. Purandeswari, who sponsored the bronze statue which is 9 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 900 kg. He also questioned the locus standi of Ms. Purandeswari to send the invitations, but nonetheless, they too were not received.
The statue which was sculpted by an NTR admirer Devu Shankar at Vemuru village in Guntur district over the last six months was a bone of contention over donation between Ms. Purandeswari and her husband D. Venkateswara Rao, in the Congress and the TDP ever since it was approved by a Parliamentary committee on statues and portraits headed by the then Speaker G.M.C. Balayogi in 2000. Finally, Congress had its way and left the sponsorship to Ms. Purandeswari.
TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu who inherited the legacy of the party in 2000 and Ms. Purandeswari locked horns staking claim for donation of funds but the matter was unresolved by the House panel all these years though the issue came up at almost every meeting.
Former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee sent two reminders to Mr. Naidu’s successor Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy but he did not respond. Then, Ms. Purandeswari stepped up her efforts triggering a war of letters between her and Mr. Naidu and her brother, film star Balakrishna. The unveiling of the statue with the familiar sight of NTR raising his left hand in the waiting area six near Rajya Sabha gate of Parliament would be attended by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Leader of Opposition and leaders of national parties. Devu Shankar’s statues of Acharya N.G. Ranga and Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu have already been installed in Parliament House.