MP drops plan to renovate, rename Hyderabad auditorium


Hyderabad/New Delhi: Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy Saturday withdrew his proposal to renovate Telugu Lalitha Kala Thoranam auditorium in Hyderabad, bringing down the curtain on a row over its renaming.

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The Congress leader conveyed to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah that he was withdrawing the proposal to renovate the open-air auditorium and rename it after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Reddy told reporters in New Delhi that he was withdrawing the proposal while respecting the sentiments of Telugu people.

He said he wanted to develop an auditorium and renovate the existing one to help promote Telugu art and culture.

“I have high respect for artists and art and I moved the proposal with the same intention. The general practice is that when somebody builds an auditorium it is named after the person who donates money or after the person whose name he suggests,” the MP said.

The industrialist MP said his proposal was above politics but lamented that some people tried to politicise the issue and target him.

His decision will put an end to the controversy over renaming of the open-air auditorium located in Public Gardens in the heart of the city.

The state government Oct 22 issued orders to rename the Telugu Lalitha Kala Thoranam auditorium as Rajiv Gandhi Lalitha Kala Thoranam, after Reddy offered funds to renovate the auditorium.

The opposition parties, followers of former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao and some cultural organizations took exception to the government’s move, saying it would hurt the sentiments of Telugu people.

The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) said it was a ploy by Congress legislators to please party chief Sonia Gandhi. TDP president and leader of opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu wrote to Rosaiah to withdraw the order.

Naidu said the auditorium was the brain child of N.T. Rama Rao, and questioned the need to change the name.

The open-air auditorium, which seats nearly 5,000 people, was built in 1986. It comes under the control of the cultural affairs department of the state government.