Popular Telugu film star-turned-politician Chiranjeevi [Images] launched his public contact program on Saturday by undertaking his first visit to Sricilla, a town of handloom weavers in Karimnagar district in the heart of the Telangana region.
This is first time that the star came face to face with the ordinary people since he formally launched his Praja Rajyam party on August 26 at Tirupati.
After maintaining secrecy over Chiranjeevi's visit to different parts of the state, the party suddenly announced late on Friday night that the star will visit Sricilla and meet the weavers, who are facing severe financial crisis.
Strict security arrangements were made both by the police and the private security guards to keep the frenzied fans away from the star and provide him an opportunity to meet the ordinary people.
"I have come here to hear from you about your problems and understand the reasons for your sufferings," Chiranjeevi told the weavers' families in Bibinagar area of the town. He spent nearly one hour interacting with the weavers who told him that the lack of work and wages, rising prices of the input and lack of demand for their products has pushed them to verge of hunger and starvation.
Chiranjeevi expressed his shock and dismay over the huge number suicides among the weavers of Sricilla. "Soon the days will come when you will be able to change your destiny with your own hands", he said. He urged the weavers to face the situation bravely and not to lose the hope.
The star promised that he will get their problem assessed in a scientific manner to find a lasting solution to them. "So far your problems could not be solved because of the lack of a humanitarian approach and sensitivity needed", he said.
"Ex-gratia or compensation is not going to solve your problem. What you need is work and proper wages, It is because of lack of work that the people are forced to migrate to foreign land and to other states in search of work," he said.
Chiranjeevi also met the beedi makers, another section of rural artisans who are suffering acute financial crisis in the state.
Later addressing a public meeting Chiranjeevi announced that a member of backward classes will be the candidate of Praja Rajyam party from Sricilla. At the moment, the constituency is represented by veteran Rajeshwara Rao of the Telugu Desam Party. Earlier he had represented the same seat as a Communist Party of India member.