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Rediff.com  » News » Andhra tour will be Chiranjeevi's litmus test

Andhra tour will be Chiranjeevi's litmus test

September 10, 2008 11:59 IST

About a fortnight after launching his party Praja Rajyam, Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi would be embarking on his maiden mass contact programme towards the month-end,  amid criticism that he lacks clarity about his political agenda.

A plan for the actor's tour of the 23 districts in Andhra Pradesh has almost been finalised, party spokesperson P Mithra said in Hyderabad.

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Meanwhile, the new outfit continued to be the destination of political migratory birds from other parties and thousands of common fans.

Several leaders from the ruling Congress, Opposition Telugu Desam Party and people from different walks of life have joined Praja Rajyam since its launch on August 26.

In an interesting development, Samajwadi Party leaders Amar Singh, Jaya Bachchan and Jayaprada called on the actor last Sunday, triggering speculation of an alliance between the two parties in Andhra, where Assembly poll is due next year.

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The main political parties in the state -- TDP and Congress - sharpened their attack on the actor after the Praja Rajyam's spokesman expressed confidence that the new party would emerge as a viable alternative to them.

While TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu described the Praja Rajyam's assertions of emerging as a major political force as 'day-dreaming', the ruling Congress dubbed it as a 'laughable remark'.

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Coming down heavily on Chiranjeevi, president of the TDP's women's wing, Roja, once a co-star of the superstar, said he lacked political maturity and that his party can never be an alternative to TDP.

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President D Srinivas said Chiranjeevi should make it clear what change he would bring about as promised.

Several Congress leaders asserted that Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is the 'real hero' for all his development initiatives in the last four years of his rule and that actors like Chiranjeevi are no match for him.

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The Praja Rajyam party, however, refused to be drawn into a war of words with other parties.

Praja Rajyam activists, though, held a protest in Tirupati in 'Gandhigiri' style against Roja's charges. In the face of the criticism, Mithra said the party would soon come out with policy documents on various issues.

The party would also put in place an organisational structure soon, the spokesman said.

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Seeking to dispel the criticism that he remained a non-starter, Chiranjeevi said he is learning to walk as a politician and expressed confidence that with people's support he would soon gallop and go beyond the reach of other parties.

He is expected to spell out his stand on various issues and the agenda of his party during the state-wide tour.

As he gears up for his mass contact programme, the Telugu superstar faces the stupendous challenge of proving his critics wrong and taking on the confident Congress and a determined TDP.