In a fresh row days before the new governments take charge in the two states of Telangana and the rest of Andhra Pradesh, Civil Aviation Minister P Gajapathi Raju announced on Thursday that the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport at Shamshabad would be renamed as N T Rama Rao airport. Both the Congress and TRS are upset with the move.
TDP chief and Andhra Chief Minister-elect N Chandrababu Naidu had announced at his party meeting on Tuesday that he would ask the Centre to rename the airport after N T Rama Rao, the legendary actor who founded the TDP and went on to become the Chief Minister in 1983.
“The old airport at Begumpet was called NTR International Airport. After it was shifted to Shamshabad, the name should have continued. I will ask the Union Civil Aviation Minister who is from TDP to consider changing the name,’’ Naidu had said.
While the construction of the new airport was an initiative of the TDP, it was completed in 2008 when the then Chief Minister Y S R Reddy decided to name it after Rajiv Gandhi.
Telangana PCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah accused Naidu of using his influence over Raju, who is the TDP MP from Vizianagaram, to rename the airport. “It is uncalled for and unnecessary,’’ said Lakshmaiah.
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While the TRS is also learnt to be upset since the new airport is now in Telangana, party sources said it may not raise the issue as it does not want to sour its relations with the NDA. Besides, NTR is a popular figure in Telangana too. TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao, who is set to take oath as Telangana’s first Chief Minister on June 2, is himself a fan and has named his son K T Rama Rao after him.