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Chiranjeevi: The die is cast(e) in Andhra Pradesh

Vicky Nanjappa in Hyderabad | August 25, 2008 15:02 IST

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The megastar from Andhra Pradesh has finally taken the plunge and announced his entry into the world of politics.

Blessed with an image of a demi-God in Andhra Pradesh, the expectations from Chiranjeevi [Images] are plenty.

So thrilled are his fans with this decision that comparisons are being drawn to the charismatic N T Rama Rao, who ruled the hearts of the people of Andhra Pradesh for several decades.

Political pundits say Chiranjeevi's entry into Andhra Pradesh politics will sure alter the political equation in the state.

Major parties like the ruling Congress and the Telegu Desam Party have already started working overtime to wade away the Chiranjeevi threat.

Experts say though Chiru, as he is affectionately called, enjoys an image of a demi-God thanks to his films, ultimately the battle will be fought on the basis of caste.

The influential Kapu community in AP which Chiranjeevi belongs to is hopeful that their leader will make to the chief minister's chair. Till date in history of AP, not a single leader from the Kapu caste has made it to the top post.

All Chief Ministers that AP has seen till date are either from the Reddy or Kamma castes.

Experts say the mega star will manage to sweep all the votes from the Kapu community who are most dominant in the coastal area.

The magic number required in AP to rule the state is 147 and Chiru's party will be banking heavily on the 100 seats available in the coastal belt of the state which is dominated by the Kapu community. History has shown that the voting pattern in the coastal belt of AP is very similar to Tamil Nadu. The votes have never been split in this belt and the entire belt votes for one party thus determining the political equations in the state.

Gattu Ramachander, a member of Chiranjeevi's party, told that the Kapu community is entirely behind Chiranjeevi while the Reddys will go with the Congress. The Kammas will stand by the TDP, but the number compared to the other two castes is negligible.

As of now the scales are weighing heavily in favour of Chiranjeevi who is expected to take the coastal belt of the state which has nine districts and 100 constituencies.

The Rayalseema region with 4 districts is expected to stay with Chief Minister Y S Rajashekhar Reddy. This would mean that the deciding factor would be the Telangana region with 10 districts and 119 constituencies.

However, Chiranjeevi will seek to make inroads in Telanagana as the region has a considerable number of members from the Kapu community who have not see as Chief Minister for their community till date.

Political pundits say the Telegu Desam Party will be the biggest loser. It will be a direct fight between the Congress and Chiru's party. While both parties have their respective bases consolidated, it would be crucial to see which way Telangana would swing as this part of AP will play kingmaker. While Rajashekhar Reddy has given enough indication for the formation of a separate Telangana, Chiranjeevi is yet to take a stand regarding this issue.

Ramachaner says that the TDP will be pushed to the third position.

"Our direct fight will be with the Congress and ultimately on these two parties will survive in the battle for Andhra Pradesh. We have not taken any stand where Telangana is concerned. We will concentrate on Andhra Pradesh as a whole. We will not fight the elections on one issue. Our main thrust during the election will be anti-corruption, development and social justice.

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