Jr NTR softpedals UHS name change, Kalyan Ram condemns

Jr NTR on Thursday came up with a subdued response on the controversy over the renaming of the NTR University

Jr NTR softpedals UHS name change, Kalyan Ram condemns

HYDERABAD: Tollywood actor Jr NTR on Thursday came up with a subdued response on the controversy over the renaming of the NTR University of Health Sciences as YSR Health University. His reaction came in the form of a tweet, in which he asserted that the renaming of the health university could not lower NTR's image but at the same time used caution as the watchword.

The entire rank and file of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), including its chief Chandrababu Naidu besides the members of the Nandamuri family, have been going hammer and tongs against the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSRCP government in Andhra Pradesh over its decision to rename the university. Even as the Chief Minister stoutly defended his decision while expressing his respect for NTR, the Andhra Pradesh Assembly passed the bill in the House on Wednesday with a voice vote.

With the pro-TDP bandwagon expressing its anguish and displeasure over the decision, Jr NTR, the grandson of NTR, too had the inevitability of speaking about it. Contrary to how the Nandamuri family reacted, Jr NTR appeared to have preferred a condemnation that had caution written all over it. In a measured and carefully worded message, he began his tweet by praising both NTR and YSR in the same breath. He described both as great leaders of the masses.

Then, he went on to say that replacing one's name with the other would neither enhance YSR's stature nor lower NTR's image. The actor ended the tweet, saying that by merely changing the name, NTR's glory and reputation besides his memories among the Telugu populace could not be erased.

Though Jr NTR addressed the issue, his choice of soft-pedalling it and equating both the leaders has come in as a shock for some. There was neither a condemnation of the decision nor a passionate appeal to restore NTR's name. His tweet is being seen as too diplomatic by some sections of the TDP sympathisers especially in the wake of the political storm that the renaming issue has kicked up.

But those who have been closely watching Junior's statements in public domain in the recent past are hardly surprised. They recall his subdued reaction even when Chandrababu Naidu wept inconsolably at a press conference a few months back. The TDP chief then alleged that his wife Bhuvaneswari was insinuated and humiliated by the YSRCP leaders and broke down during a virtual media interaction. The actor's tweet then simply focused on why women needed to be respected. It was seen as too cryptic in nature, given his connection to the Nandamuri family.

Interestingly, a statement from his brother Kalyan Ram, stood quite in contrast to Jr NTR's as the elder son of Harikrishna did not beat about the bush. Kalyan Ram, while narrating NTR's efforts in establishing the Health University, said that he was pained by the decision to rename it. He commented in no uncertain terms that it was inappropriate to misuse a highly emotive issue like this for political gains.

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