TDP set for silver jubilee convention


Hyderabad : The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh is all set to begin its three-day annual convention Sunday, which will also mark the party's silver jubilee celebrations.

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The convention, called 'Mahanadu', will be held at the temple town of Tirupati and is expected to give a new direction to the party to prepare for the 2009 assembly elections. The TDP, which turned 25 on March 29, is scheduled to debate on a host of issues and pass resolutions on political and economic matters.

It would also discuss the party's stand on India's presidential candidate.

TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu is keen to infuse young blood into the party to prepare the organisation for future challenges. He is also likely to finalise plans to reserve four percent of assembly seats for the youth.

The TDP had suffered a huge defeat in the 2004 assembly elections. Realising that that the aggressive economic reforms undertaken during his nine-year rule (1995-2004) had alienated farmers and the poor, Naidu called for an alternative economic programme.

The benefits of economic reforms should definitely reach the poor, he told reporters in Hyderabad Saturday.

The meet, however, may not take up the issue of separate statehood for the Telangana region, though the party has shown signs of flexibility in its stand against the bifurcation of the state.

Attacking the Congress government's "misrule", Naidu said Andhra Pradesh had lost its progressive and development-oriented image.

"Corruption has crossed all limits and land grabbing and scandals have become the order of the day," the TDP leader said.

Actor-turned-politician N.T. Rama Rao, popularly known as NTR, founded the regional party on March 29, 1982, for the "self-respect" of the Telugu people. TDP made political history by coming to power in Andhra Pradesh in just nine months after its formation, ending the Congress monopoly in state politics.

Since then, the party remained in power except for five years between 1989 and 1994, before losing the 2004 polls.

In 1995, a year after NTR led TDP back to power, his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu led a revolt against him over the interference of his second wife Lakshmi Parvathi in party affairs and administration.

NTR's sudden death in January 1996 changed the political scene dramatically and Naidu claimed to be the true successor of NTR's political legacy.

His position became stronger when TDP retained power in the 1999 elections. By bagging 29 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats from the state, TDP became "king maker" in New Delhi and extended the crucial outside support to the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

TDP suffered its worst electoral defeat both in assembly and Lok Sabha polls in 2004. While it won a meagre 45 seats in the 294-member state assembly, it could mange only five Lok Sabha seats.