Harikrishna drove NTR's chariot for thousands of kms

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Hyderabad : Actor-politician Nandamuri Harikrishna was known for his driving skills, had become famous as the charioteer of his father NTR's 'Chaitanya Ratham' and ironically has become an accident victim while driving his own car.

He along with two others was on his way to Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh to attend a marriage.

The speeding vehicle overturned on Hyderabad-Vijayawada highway at Anneparthi in Nalgonda district of Telangana. The former MP and former Andhra Pradesh minister sustained head injuries and succumbed at a hospital.

Harikrishna, who began his film career as a child artist, was popular in TDP circles as 'sarathi' (charioteer) of his father's 'Chaitanya Ratham' (chariot of awakening) when the latter floated Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982.

With this 'Rathama', a customised Chevrolet van, NTR changed the course of Andhra Pradesh politics by coming to power within 9 months after forming the party. The 'Ratham' is said to have logged 75,000 km.

"He was not an ordinary driver. He had special skills. His father had full confidence in him and that's why he was picked for driving the Ratham," said veteran actor Babu Mohan.

Harikrishna's relatives and friends recall that he preferred to drive his car. He had turned down their suggestions to use the services of a driver.

Harikrishna is the third senior TDP leader to die in the road accident. Former central minister K. Yerran Naidu died when his car collided with a truck in Srikakulam district in 2012.

A year later, TDP vice-president and former MP Lal Jan Basha died when the car in which he was going to Vijayawada rammed into a divider near Narketpally, not far from the place where Harikrishna met with an accident on Wednesday.

Harikrishna had lost his eldest son Janki Ram in a road accident on the same highway in 2014. Earlier, his younger son Junior NTR too had met with an accident in the same district but escaped with minor injuries.

People in Abids, a commercial centre in Hyderabad, recalled the days when Harikrishna used to move around in the area on his favourite Royal Enfield. He was then running a hotel in Abids.