Hyderabad: Mohan Babu, veteran Telugu actor and former aide of Telugu Desam Party founder N. T. Rama Rao (NTR), joined the main opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday. Babu, who has reportedly not been on good terms with TDP supremo and AP chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, will campaign for YSRCP, which is led by its president Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Babu is one among the handful of people who are unhappy with Naidu to have jumped ship over to the YSRCP in recent times. Prior to him, Hitesh Daggubati, one of NTR's grandsons joined the YSRCP. Hitesh is the son of Daggobati Purandeswari (NTR’s daughter) and former Congress MLA Venkateshwar Rao. Veteran Tollywood comedian Ali also joined the YSRCP.
While Mohan Babu is not considered to be a political heavyweight, he was known to be close to NTR and has even acted in Telugu movies with him in the past. Babu was also nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1995 by the then TDP government (in the joint state of AP) and was part of the upper house till 2000. He reportedly had a falling-out with Naidu later, and has also been very vocal in his criticism of the TDP in public.
A YSRCP functionary, who did not want to be quoted, said that Babu will be a star campaigner for Jagan Mohan Reddy, and has not been given any other responsibility so far. “He may get nominated to the Rajya Sabha later. But that is not clear now," he added. It may be noted that Mohan Babu’s son, Manchu Vishnu, is married to Jagan’s cousin, Viranica Manchu.
Babu is also a producer who starred in many films and is also a Padma Shri recipient. He has also established the his Sri Vidyanikethan Educational Trust.
“Mohan Babu has been disenchanted with Chandra Babu Naidu since he was not renominated to the Rajya Sabha. There have been numerous occasions when this popular actor spoke his mind, and expressed views against TDP. And now considering the family ties they have with Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mohan Babu joining YCP was expected sooner than now," opined political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
He added that while this development may not be a significant one in absolute number terms , as Babu does not have a big base in Andhra, it will add to the barrage of voices that are waiting to or already attacking Naidu on matters related to governance, family, NTR etc.