Daggubati Purandeswari is an Indian politician. She is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The central leadership of the BJP appointed her as the President of the Andhra Pradesh BJP on 4 July 2023.
Daggubati Purandeswari was born on Wednesday, 22 April 1959 (age 64 years; as of 2023) in Madras, Madras State, (now Chennai, Tamil Nadu) India. Her zodiac sign is Taurus. She did her schooling at the Sacred Heart Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Church Park, Chennai. In 1979, Purandeswari pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature at the South Indian Educational Trust and Women College, Chennai (now known as the Bashir Ahmed Sayeed College for Women). Later, in 1996, she completed a diploma in gemmology at the Gemmological Institute of India, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Height (approx.): 5′ 6″
Weight (approx.): 70 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Family & Caste
Purandeswari belongs to the Kamma community.
Parents & Siblings
Her father’s name is Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao (NTR) (deceased). Her mother’s name is Basavatarakam Nandamuri (deceased). Her father, a multifaceted figure, held the titles of an Indian actor, filmmaker, and politician, gracing the role of Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh for seven years across three terms. His cinematic journey included over 300 films, predominantly in the Telugu film industry. Recognizing his exceptional contributions, Rao was honoured with three National Film Awards for his involvement in co-producing Thodu Dongalu (1954) and Seetharama Kalyanam (1960) under the esteemed National Art Theater, Madras, as well as for directing Varakatnam (1970).
Furthermore, his remarkable talent garnered him the inaugural Filmfare Award for Best Actor in Telugu in 1972 for his exemplary performance in the film Badi Panthulu. The indelible mark left by N. T. R. on the world of cinema was solidified by being voted as the “Greatest Indian Actor of All Time” in a CNN-IBN national poll conducted in 2013, coinciding with the Centenary of Indian Cinema. Recognizing his significant contributions, Rao was bestowed with the esteemed Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1968. Venturing beyond his cinematic endeavours, he ventured into politics, establishing the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982 and steering the state of Andhra Pradesh as Chief Minister for three eventful terms from 1983 to 1995. On a national level, he played a pivotal role in the formation of the National Front, a coalition of non-Congress parties that governed India from 1989 to 1990. Her mother died after battling with cancer in 1985. Following her mother’s death, her father married the Telugu writer and politician Lakshmi Parvathi in 1993; she was his biographer. Purandeshwari is the second daughter amidst a large family, encompassing eight brothers and three sisters. The family has experienced several significant events, starting with the passing of her eldest brother, Nandamuri Ramakrishna Sr., in 1962, prompting her father to establish Ramakrishna Studios in Nacharam as a lasting tribute. At the age of 72, her father, NT Rama Rao, passed away due to a cardiac arrest on 18 January 1996 at his residence in Hyderabad. Unfortunately, her brother Nandamuri Saikrishna, a notable theatre owner, succumbed to complications arising from diabetes in 2004. Another brother, Nandamuri Harikrishna, who transitioned from being a child actor to a dedicated politician, tragically lost his life in a car accident on 29 August 2018.
Continuing the family’s influence in the film industry, her brother Nandamuri Balakrishna emerged as a leading actor in Tollywood during the mid-1980s. Balakrishna contested and won the Hindupur Assembly Constituency in the 2014 assembly elections as a candidate of the TDP. Another sibling, Nandamuri Ramakrishna Jr., is engaged in the field of film production. Meanwhile, her sister, Nara Bhuvaneshwari, is married to the former chief minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu. Her second sister is Garapati Lokeswari. Sadly, the family has also endured a profound loss with the tragic discovery of her youngest sister, Uma Maheswari, found deceased at her residence in Hyderabad’s Jubilee Hills on 1 August 2022. The police report suggests that her passing may have been a case of suicide, though no suicide note was discovered.
Husband & Children
On 9 May 1979, she got married to Dr Daggubati Venkateswara Rao. Together they have two children, a daughter named Nivedita, and a son named Hitesh Chenchuram. Venkateswara Rao, a distinguished figure, has held noteworthy positions as a former Minister, a former Member of Parliament, and a former member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, and represented the Parchur constituency in Prakasham District until 2014. Exhibiting his widespread popularity, he secured an impressive victory in the 2009 General Election, prevailing with a majority of 2,776 votes. Throughout his illustrious political career, Rao garnered a succession of triumphs, being elected to the State Assembly in 1983, 1985, 1989, 2004, and 2009, while also serving as a representative in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Indian Parliament, from 1991 to 1996, and further ascending to the Rajya Sabha, the distinguished Upper House, in 1996. Notably, although he participated as an independent candidate in the 2014 elections, he subsequently aligned himself with the YSR Congress Party in 2019. In the highly contested 2019 Legislative Assembly elections, Rao valiantly competed for the Parchur Assembly Constituency in the Prakasham district; however, he encountered a narrow defeat at the hands of the formidable TDP candidate, Eluri Sambasiva Rao. Following his defeat by a narrow margin to Eluri Sambasiva Rao in the elections, despite contesting on a YSRC ticket from the Purchur assembly constituency in Bapatla district, Daggubati had assumed a low profile.
On 17 January 2023, while speaking about his political career, in an interview, her husband, Dr Daggubati Venkateswara Rao announced his retirement from politics. Adding to his decision to quit politics, the veteran politician, pointed out that he reached a resolute decision to distance himself from politics. Venkateswara Rao was said to have become increasingly disenchanted with the prevailing system. Stirred by the same disillusionment, his son, Hitesh Chenchuram, too chose to forego venturing into this field after witnessing the disheartening state of affairs. His son, Hitesh, who had hurriedly returned from the USA to participate in the 2019 elections, was initially intended to be the YSRC’s candidate for Purchur. However, due to issues related to his citizenship, Hitesh was unable to contest. Consequently, his father, the seasoned politician stepped forward to contest the election, only to face his first electoral defeat in his extensive political career, despite the prevailing wave in favour of the YSRC. Dr Daggubati Venkateswara Rao’s political journey has been characterized by numerous twists and turns since his initiation into the TDP in 1983. Regarded as the party’s second-in-command after NTR until Naidu’s ascension, Dr Daggubati aligned himself with his father-in-law, NT Rama Rao, in the early days when Naidu led the party’s split in 1995. However, enticed by the promise of the deputy CM’s position, he swiftly shifted allegiance to Naidu’s camp, only to return to NTR’s fold when Naidu failed to fulfil his promises. By that time, Naidu had solidified his control over the TDP and amassed popularity among the masses. Subsequently, Dr Daggubati briefly served in the BJP before eventually retiring from politics. Surprising his followers, the Daggubati family joined the Congress party before the 2004 elections. While Dr Daggubati emerged victorious in the assembly election as a Congress nominee, his wife, Purandeswari, secured a Lok Sabha seat. During their tenure, Purandeswari was also appointed as a Union Minister in the government’s second term. Amid the state’s bifurcation, Dr Daggubati once again withdrew from active politics, only to reenter into politics as a YSRCP nominee for the 2019 elections, where he faced his initial electoral defeat.
Harikrishna’s sons, Nandamuri Kalyan Ram and N. T. Rama Rao Jr. have pursued successful careers as actors within the realm of Telugu cinema. Purandeswari has family connections as the sister of both Nandamuri Harikrishna and Nandamuri Balakrishna, sister-in-law to N Chandrababu Naidu, niece to N Trivikrama Rao, and aunt to Nara Lokesh, Nandamuri Kalyan Ram, NT Rama Rao Jr, Nandamuri Suhasini, and Taraka Ratna.
She follows Hinduism.
Embarking on her journey into electoral politics in 2004, she found herself driven by internal conflicts, specifically arising from disparities with her sister’s spouse. While the former Union minister and her husband had maintained a harmonious association with Naidu, even during the tumultuous event of his ascension as chief minister by toppling NTR’s government in August 1995, their rapport experienced a noticeable strain in subsequent times, attributed to Naidu’s apparent sidelining of the Daggubati family. Later, she joined the Indian National Congress and was a member of the INC between 2004 and 2014. In 2014, she left Congress and joined the BJP.
Member of Parliament (MP) Lok Sabha
Purandeswari started actively being involved in politics when she was 45 years old. She joined the Congress party and became their candidate for the Lok Sabha elections. She wanted to prevent Naidu from being the only one to continue NTR’s political legacy. Both Purandeswari and her husband were welcomed by the Congress party, which showed that NTR’s family had disagreements. In 2004, Daggubati Purandeswari was fielded by the Indian National Congress from the Bapatla constituency in Andhra Pradesh; she defeated TDP’s Daggubati Ramanaidu in her maiden Lok Sabha election. Purandeswari served as the Minister of State for Human Resource Development in the Manmohan Singh cabinet from 29 January 2006 to 28 October 2012. She represented the Visakhapatnam constituency of Andhra Pradesh as a Member of the Parliament on an INC ticket in the 15th Lok Sabha of India; she secured a stellar victory over her opponent, Palla Srinivasa Rao of the Telugu Desam Party. Engaging actively in parliamentary debates encompassing a range of significant bills, including the Domestic Violence Bill, the Hindu Succession Amendment Bill, and the legislation for the establishment of exclusive courts dedicated to the trial of women’s cases, she rendered insightful and substantial contributions. Recognizing her remarkable performance within the hallowed halls of Parliament, the Asian Age bestowed upon her the prestigious title of the finest Parliamentarian for 2004-2005.
Exit from the Indian National Congress
On 7 March 2014, Purandeswari decided to sever ties with the Congress party and align herself with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), primarily motivated by the contentious Telangana issue. Joining the BJP in the presence of former party chief M Venkaiah Naidu, Purandeswari wasted no time and expressed her aspiration to contest from the coveted Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat. During an interview, while elaborating on her departure from the Congress party, she candidly revealed her dissatisfaction with the decision to bifurcate the state and the unquestioning compliance demonstrated by party members, as it was a decision dictated by the party itself. She further emphasized how the bifurcation unfolded deeply pained her. Following the introduction of the Telangana Bill in the Lok Sabha, Purandeswari formally tendered her resignation from the Congress party, stressing that she had been compelled to take this step due to the absence of any viable alternatives following the partitioning of Andhra Pradesh.
After Joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
In 2014, she joined the BJP and contested the 16th Lok Sabha from the Rajampet constituency on a ticket from the Bharatiya Janata Party. Originating from the Krishna district, she found herself contesting in an area where the Reddy and Balija votes held dominance, whereas her affiliation belonged to the Kamma community, which held limited influence in the region. According to Purandeswari, she initially sought to contest from either the Visakhapatnam or Vijayawada seat where she believed her prospects were stronger; however, the BJP insisted on allocating the Visakhapatnam seat to their chief, Haribabu, and the TDP displayed reluctance in relinquishing the Vijayawada seat. As Purandeswari persisted in her desire to contest, Rajampet was ultimately assigned to her as a last resort.
However, the BJP insisted on allocating the Visakhapatnam seat to their chief, Haribabu, and the TDP displayed reluctance in relinquishing the Vijayawada seat. As Purandeswari persisted in her desire to contest, Rajampet was ultimately assigned to her as a last resort. Certain reports indicated that her campaign appeared lacklustre, raising speculation that she had been granted the seat simply due to the BJP’s lack of alternative candidates. Additionally, the TDP was disinclined to include Rajampet in their seat-sharing arrangement, deeming it an unfavourable constituency. Shortly after her nomination was filed, Chandrababu Naidu publicly criticized the BJP for fielding weak candidates, even contemplating breaking the alliance with the BJP. It was a three-way contest between her, the six-time winner, Sai Prathap of the Congress, and Mithun Reddy of the YSR Congress party. She lost by a margin of 1,74,762 votes to Mithun Reddy of the YSR Congress party. In July 2015, she was made the co-in charge of Karnataka BJP and in charge of BJP’s Mahila Morcha. She was then given charge of the Odisha BJP state unit. She was later appointed as the spokesperson of the BJP in Andhra Pradesh. In September 2020, she was named for the post of the BJP General Secretary. Purandeswari was appointed as the President of the Andhra Pradesh BJP.
Daggubati Purandeswari spoke to the media on 13 July 2023 during which she emphasized her determination to strengthen the party in the state and addressed the false campaign against her. She emphasized her determination to strengthen the party in the state and addressed the false campaign against them. She raised questions about the state government’s claims of direct benefit transfer under Rythu Bharosa, stating that it relied solely on central funds. She also inquired about the chief minister’s promise of Rs. 12,500 for farmers. She further questioned the state government’s slow housing construction progress in nine years despite receiving Rs. 20,000 crores for the same. She also criticized the YSR Congress Party government for the poor condition of roads in the state and its failure to develop Andhra Pradesh, despite assistance from the BJP-led government at the Centre. Purandeswari, in the interview, highlighted issues such as the plight of industries, pending contractor bills worth Rs. 40,000 crores, deteriorating law and order, and the lack of safety for women and children.
- 2004-2005: Asian Age – Best Parliamentarian
Assets & Properties
- Cash: Rs. 11,000
- Bank Deposits, Financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Companies: Rs. 7,99,412
- Bonds, Debentures and Shares in Companies: Rs. 1,71,79,617
- Personal loans: Rs. 32,00,000
- Jewellery: Rs. 72,52,800
- Non-Agricultural Land: Rs. 9,60,00,000
- Residential Buildings: Rs. 2,50,00,000
- In remembrance of his first wife, NT Rama Rao, the former Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, founded the Smt. Nandamuri Basavataraka Rama Rao Memorial Cancer Foundation (NBTRCF).
- In 1997, Purandeswari founded the Hyderabad Institute of Gem and Jewellery.
- She is proficient in reading, writing, and speaking English, Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, and French.
- She has also taken classes to learn the Indian dance form of Kuchipudi.
- Despite her husband, Daggubati Venkateswara Rao, initially supporting Chandrababu Naidu during the uprising against their father-in-law, N. T. Rama Rao, in August 1995, subsequently switched allegiance and aligned himself with the Congress party. This change in loyalty transpired as Naidu gradually marginalized him, prompting Venkateswara Rao to seek a new political association.
- Purandeswari’s capacity to captivate audiences through her eloquence, adept articulation, and impassioned orations stands as a testament to her exceptional aptitude in establishing meaningful connections with people while proficiently delivering her message. The politician is fondly called by many as ‘Sushma Swaraj of the South.’
- Some reports suggested that, in a state of contemplation, Daggubati Purandeswari was reportedly considering the course of her political journey, weighing the possibilities of either continuing in politics or embracing retirement. In 2019, rumours swirled suggesting a potential alignment with the YSR Congress party, yet those close to her dismissed such claims and asserted her commitment to BJP, saying that she would announce her retirement rather than join another party.
- In a momentous development, the appointment of Purandeswari as the BJP state president in July 2023 garnered positive responses even from leaders belonging to rival political parties. Roja, a state minister and member of the YSRCP, expressed her appreciation for the selection of a woman as the president of the BJP. While Roja, a former actress, conveyed a tinge of sadness that none of NTR’s family members had assumed leadership of the party he had founded, she suggested that NTR’s supporters would have been delighted if Purandeswari had taken charge of the TDP. U. Arun Kumar, a respected Congress leader and former minister, refrained from making political comments regarding Purandeswari’s appointment but offered personal commendation. Emphasizing her gentle demeanour and respectful treatment of others, he lauded her as an individual of merit.
- During a significant Rajya Sabha debate on education held on 10 March 2008, an exchange of amicable words occurred between Karan Singh, a seasoned Congress politician, and Daggubati Purandeswari, who was the Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development at the time. However, the minister’s response to a query regarding the academic achievements of Indian students who studied or worked abroad, based on an alleged survey, soon landed her in a quandary. Within a mere 48 hours, Purandeswari’s statements became the subject of widespread mockery in the media. An article titled “India Rising in the US: Govt Falls Victim to Net Hoax” stated there was no survey which substantiated these figures and pointed out that the numbers were from a well-circulated Internet chain email that has been in circulation for numerous years.