Signs of Thaw in Chandrababu Naidu-Purandeswari Ties Amid Andhra Politics Reconfiguration

Source: Indian Express

With the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) returning to power for a third term and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) emerging as a key pillar of the ruling coalition, there are signs of a thaw in the long-strained relationship between TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and Andhra Pradesh BJP president Dr. Daggubati Purandeswari, who is also Naidu’s sister-in-law.

Purandeswari, 65, has long blamed Naidu’s 1995 coup for the downfall of her father and TDP founder N T Rama Rao, maintaining a significant distance from Naidu. However, on June 5, a day after the NDA’s landslide win in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu publicly thanked Purandeswari for her support. At the NDA meeting in New Delhi, Naidu acknowledged Purandeswari’s role in the state elections and expressed his gratitude again.

“Political allegiances may be different, but there are strong family ties. While Purandeswari is Chandrababu’s sister-in-law, her brother N Balakrishna is a TDP MLA from Hindupur and is very close to Naidu. They are all getting back together,” said a TDP leader.

Andhra BJP co-in-charge Sunil Deodhar added, “BJP and Purandeswari helped the alliance to win the election. Naidu is rightly acknowledging it.”

While Purandeswari’s husband, Daggubati Venkateshwara Rao, a former five-time TDP MLA, sided with Naidu during the 1995 coup, Purandeswari kept her distance. This split NTR’s family, with most of his children siding with Naidu but maintaining some distance from Purandeswari.

Purandeswari joined the Congress in 2000 and stayed mostly out of state politics, focusing on her role as a Union Cabinet member. She switched to the BJP in protest against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014. Despite her high profile, she did not campaign with Naidu and kept her distance from the TDP until recently. However, she publicly condemned Naidu’s arrest in the alleged AP Skill Development Corporation scam last September.

Sources indicate that although BJP won eight Assembly and three Lok Sabha constituencies in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu may still want to limit Purandeswari’s influence in state politics. With NTR’s daughter heading the BJP in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu at the helm as CM, and the rise of Pawan Kalyan as a politician, the dynamics in the state have shifted significantly. This powerful combination is expected to hold sway in both Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad.

Pawan Kalyan’s ascent brings the prominent Tollywood family into Andhra politics. His elder brother is “megastar” K Chiranjeevi, while another brother, Nagababu, is also eyeing a role in the state. Pawan Kalyan has the backing of nearly 10 extended family members in the film industry, including popular “Pushpa” actor Allu Arjun.