Hyderabad: Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu said NT Rama Rao was a pioneer in building a coalition political culture in the country as an alternative to Congress. He was speaking at a function at Daspalla hotel after releasing a book on NTR, ‘Maverick Messiah’ authored by Ramesh Kandula on Thursday. NTR was a legend as an actor and also as a politician.He made Telugus proud. As an actor he played the roles of Rama, Krishna, Ravanna, Duryodhana, Arjuna and Karna with equal ease and felicity. Venkaiah Naidu revealed that NTR had asked him and his friend Jaipal Reddy to join his cabinet after the movement for restoration of democracy was successful and he was restored to his position. He said they politely declined the offer explaining that they came into politics basing on certain principle which do not allow them to defect. Venkaiah Naidu spoke of the mutual respect and admiration he and NTR had for each other.
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Sanjay Baru, a senior journalist and author, spoke about himself being instrumental in the publication of the book. He said NTR’s political edifice stood on four pillars. They are self-respect, concern for the poor, secularism and faith in the federal system. He brought recognition for the Telugus as a separate race with distinct language and culture which are different from that of Madrasis. His concern for the poor reflected in his policy of giving rice at the rate of two rupees a kilo. Although NTR was religious, he was secular to the core. People of all religions loved and adored him, Sanjay Baru said. NTR insisted that strong States would constitute a strong centre.
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Kandula Ramesh, the author of the book, said there is a gap in the perception of the people about NTR and if this book can fill the same, he would consider it to be fulfilling.The book was published by Penguin Random House.