Aug 26, 2008
MGR. Jayalalitha. NTR. Many more in between, and now Chiranjeevi -- the megastar and demi-god of Telugu
cinema announced the name of his party in typical filmi style with a countdown
before naming it Prajarajyam or People’s Party at a massive rally organised in
Tirupati. And people there were plenty. Estimates ranged between 9 and 10 lakhs. One woman was killed and 35 people were injured as utter chaos and stampede-like situation prevailed at the maiden public meeting.
Women and physically challenged people were the worst affected, as the unruly crowd pushed themselves and moved closer towards the podium.
No other political event in recent times had evoked so much enthusiasm as the megastar's maiden public rally. His entry into politics, with change and social justice as the main planks, is expected to have significant impact on the next year's Assembly elections.
Desertions had started from the main political parties soon after he first
announced his entry into politics on August 17. He played glowing tributes to Babasaheb
Ambedkar, APJ Kalam and Mother Teresa.Chiranjeevi comes from the backward `Kapu' community of Andhra
Pradesh and is clearly projecting himself as a leader of the backwards. Who's
upset with his entry into politics? Clearly all the established players. "His maiden political speech was virtually silent on key issues facing the state. It was only a piece of cinematic rhetoric," state ministers K Lakshminarayana, N Raghuveera Reddy and T Jeevan Reddy
have responded. "There was no clarity on important issues like Telangana, categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Naxalism. He also did not spell out his party's policies and
programmes". "What is the new thing that he has said?" wonders TDP Chief N Chandrababu
Naidu. "The people of Telangana will accept only if he unequivocally supports the demand for separate state. We will formulate our position only after he makes his stand clear," TRS President K Chandrasekhar
Rao says. The BJP has been most welcoming, as it is desperately looking for an
alliance after its breakup with TDP. But only time will tell who the actor would
throw his substantial weight behind.