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Their fathers’ sons

If the Assembly debate on the Satyam scam in the Andhra Assembly made any one thing clear...

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Published: February 16, 2009 11:29 pm

If the Assembly debate on the Satyam scam in the Andhra Assembly made any one thing clear,it was that Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and former chief minister and Opposition leader N Chandrababu Naidu are doting fathers. Both took potshots at the other’s progeny but defended their own fiercely. The two young men who ended up being the focus of the ‘debate’ are Nara Lokesh Naidu and Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. Get to know them better.

The “scholar”

The only son of Chandrababu Naidu,Nara Lokesh has an impressive list of academic credentials under his belt. In fact,it was his foreign education that became a target of attack in the Assembly,when YSR suggested that Lokesh’s prestigious US degrees had been financed by Satyam’s B Ramalinga Raju.

With a BSc from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Stanford,Lokesh is currently the executive director of Heritage Foods Limited,the firm owned by the Naidu family. Prior to this,he did various projects with the World Bank in Washington DC,including e-capacity building for the governments of Ethiopia,Sudan and Liberia. Officials at Heritage Foods Limited say he has brought “more than five years of experience in the areas of strategic business and information technology” to the family firm.

But Lokesh’s best known ‘accomplishment’ is probably his marriage to Brahmini,daughter of popular matinee idol N Balakrishna,with the matrimonial alliance attracting plenty of local media coverage.

Although the 32-year-old has been kept away from politics by his father,he made his first major public appearance last year at a flag-hoisting ceremony on Independence Day,organised by the NTR Memorial Trust’s Model Telugu School. It may be significant that he was introduced to the public and political leaders at a time when Chiranjeevi was about to launch his Praja Rajyam party. Until now,Lokesh had remained inconspicuous even during the few occasions he accompanied his father to political meetings or fund-raising missions abroad.

The “showman”

The mud-slinging in the Assembly began when Chandrababu Naidu accused the CM’s son,Y S Jaganmohan Reddy,owner of vernacular daily Sakshi,of money-laundering. But even before he began his media undertaking,Jaganmohan was already a well-known face in the state.

The 36-year-old Jagan,as he is popularly known,has several fan clubs and youth societies dedicated to him. His birthday is celebrated with much fanfare by Congress workers in his native district Kadapa. Extremely popular in his father’s constituency and native place Pulivendula,Jagan started the Kadapa Technical Training Institute in a joint venture with the National Academy of Construction. Before launching Sakshi last year,he had made a name for himself as an entrepreneur and industrialist,dabbling in the mining and construction industries. He is now preparing to launch the 24-hour Sakshi news channel and is also setting up a cement company at Nallalingayapalle.

Unlike Lokesh,Jaganmohan Reddy took to politics at the age of 27,when he became a member of the Congress. He was supposed to take the plunge a few months after the 2004 elections,when his uncle Vivekananda Reddy (who was elected from Kadapa) decided to resign to make way for his young nephew. But his resignation was not accepted by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and he stayed on. Sources in the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee say that Jaganmohan Reddy is being groomed for active politics to counter the Praja Rajyam party.

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