Move over Tamil Nadu where the DMK for long has been spoken of as the party of the rising son, a pun on its election symbol, the rising sun. The real son-rise state this election, is the Telugu Desam where several politician fathers have decided to pass on the baton to their sons. Chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and his son Nara Lokesh lead the list of father-son contesting in the same election, this being Naidu Junior’s first direct election.
Anantapur MP JC Diwakar Reddy has decided to hang up his boots and has ceded space to son JC Pavan Reddy to contest from Anantapur Lok Sabha constituency. Diwakar Reddy’s brother JC Prabhakar Reddy has followed in his footsteps and so son JC Asmith Reddy will contest from dad’s Tadipatri assembly constituency.
“My dad does not find much joy in doing politics in a smaller state after bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh,” Pavan Reddy told UmaSudhir.com. “Besides he had a long run and it was time for a new thought process to emerge. It is a generational shift.”
Deputy chief minister KE Krishnamurthy has decided not to contest from his Pathikonda seat and has bagged it for son KE Shyam Babu. Women and child welfare minister Paritala Sunitha too has opted out and ensured her family bastion of Raptadu constituency was allotted to her son Paritala Sriram. Another mother who is making way for her son is Kimidi Mrunalini, the TDP MLA from Cheepurapalle. Her son Nagarajuna will contest this time.
Srikalahasti has seen Bojjala Sudheer Reddy taking over from his father Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy, former minister who has quit active politics on health grounds. In Kurnool assembly constituency, Rajya Sabha MP TG Venkatesh has ensured the candidature of his son TG Bharath.
Harish Mathur, son of the late GMC Balayogi, former Lok Sabha speaker who died in a chopper crash in 2002 is the TDP candidate from Amalapuram. This was the constituency Balayogi represented in Parliament. Kidari Sravan, whose father Kidari Sarveshwar Rao was killed by Maoists last year, has got the ticket from Araku.
The Nagari seat has been given to Gali Bhanu Prakash, son of former MLA Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu who died last year. MV Sribharat is the grandson of former Visakhapatnam MP MVVS Murthy who died in an accident in October 2018. More importantly, in the TDP scheme of things where the family tree seems to matter most, Sribharat is the younger son-in-law of Nandamuri Balakrishna, Naidu’s brother-in-law.
There are other sons who have already cut their teeth in politics. Like Rammohan Naidu, the son of Yerran Naidu, who was elected as MP from Srikakulam in 2014 and has been renominated. Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy, son of the former CM, the late Kotla Vijaybhasker Reddy is another son in the fray. He moved from the Congress to the TDP in March. Reddy is an experienced hand, having been a three-time MP and minister of state for Railways in the Manmohan Singh government. Incidentally, his wife Kotla Sujathamma is the MLA candidate from Alur constituency.
Along with sons, there are daughters too who have found their place under the sun this election. Like Adithi, the daughter of former Union Civil Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju, who has been fielded from the Vizianagaram assembly seat. Interestingly, this is part of the Vizianagaram Lok Sabha constituency where Raju is the TDP candidate.
Yerran Naidu’s daughter Bhavani has been fielded from Rajahmundry city. Palasa MLA GSS Sivaji has retired in favour of his daughter Sireesha. Shabana has replaced her father Jaleel Khan, the sitting TDP MLA in Vijayawada (West). Rajahmundry MP, actor and construction baron Murali Mohan has stepped aside in favour of his daughter-in-law Roopa.
This long list of family packs has helped Naidu ensure that only he is not criticised for promoting dynastic rule. On the campaign trail, Prime minister Narendra Modi called for a son-set in Andhra Pradesh, alleging that Naidu was interested only in promoting his son Lokesh.
Naidu hit back by saying, “Modiji, I am sentimental and I give importance to the family system. I gave party ticket to our late leader Yerran Naidu’s daughter. That is how I respect family values.”