Junior NTR injured in accident on campaign trail, TDP hurt


Hyderabad : Telugu film star Junior NTR, who is the star campaigner of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), has suffered multiple injuries after a road accident, giving a huge jolt to the main opposition party ahead of the elections, officials said Friday.

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The accident took place late Thursday when the Tata Safari vehicle in which he was travelling turned turtle and hit a tree in Nalgonda district, 170 km east of here.

Junior NTR, grandson of legendary actor and TDP founder N.T. Rama Rao, was returning to Hyderabad from Khammam district after campaigning when the accident occurred. He was driving the vehicle.

He suffered injuries on the head, temple, back and elbow and has been shifted to the Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) in Secunderabad here. A team of doctors including neurosurgeons and plastic surgeons examined him and conducted minor surgery.

Doctors said he was out of danger but would be under observation for the next two days. Bhaskar Rao, one of the doctors, told reporters that the actor was conscious and recognised his relatives.

“The head injury is not serious. There is no cause of concern. However, there is a minor bleeding in the lungs and hence he will be under observation for two days,” he said.

The doctor said the actor also suffered a minor spinal injury and needs complete bed rest for four to six weeks, thus ruling him out for rest of the election campaign.

Elections to the 294-member state assembly and 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state are scheduled to be held April 16 and 23.

Two people accompanying him were also injured in the accident. They have been identified as actor Rajiv Kanakala, who was sitting beside Junior NTR, and junior artist Srinivas Reddy, who was on the rear seat.

The actor’s supporters and TDP leaders in other vehicles in his convoy first shifted them to a hospital in Suryapet town for first aid. They were later brought to KIMS in the state capital.

According to the police, the accident occurred at a sharp turn at Mothe village near Suryapet town.

“Apparently, he could not see the turn and suddenly applied the brakes leading to the accident,” Nalgonda District Superintendent of Police B. Srinivas told reporters.

Junior NTR, who hit the campaign trail two weeks ago, was returning to Hyderabad to celebrate Ugadi (Telugu New Year’s Day) with his family and also to hold talks with TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu for a party ticket to one of his followers.

According to informed sources, Junior NTR was unhappy with Naidu for denying an assembly ticket to his follower and the TDP chief had called him for talks.

Junior NTR’s relatives, other senior TDP leaders and a large number of fans have rushed to the hospital. His father is actor N. Harikrishna, who is also a Rajya Sabha member of the TDP.

Actor N. Balakrishna, who is also campaigning for the TDP, said: “The blessings of his fans have saved his life”.

The accident has dealt a blow to TDP’s campaign as Junior NTR was attracting huge crowds since he launched his campaign in Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra. His resemblance to his legendary grandfather and the theatrical punch in his speeches proved a big hit with people.

He covered six districts in the last 14 days, reminding people of the popularity of his grandfather, who had created a record by coming to power within nine months of launching the TDP in 1982.

Junior NTR was originally scheduled to cover the entire state in 40 days. Naidu had roped in the 26-year-old actor to counter megastar Chiranjeevi, whose Praja Rajyam Party has emerged as the third major contender for power in the state.

“His health is more important for us than the campaign,” Naidu told reporters at the hospital after calling on Junior NTR.