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Chiranjeevi stumbles before political test

Source: PTI
September 17, 2008 18:13 IST
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Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi may have created ripples in the political circles by floating a new party, but the actor suffered a blow on his home turf when his panel was defeated in the elections to the Movie Artistes Association.

The elections to the representative body of the Telugu film industry, conducted biennially, are considered prestigious by the fraternity.

Signalling a thumbs-down for him from the entertainment industry, Chiranjeevi's panel faced a complete rout in the elections.

A long-time associate of Telugu Desam Party and noted actor-producer Murali Mohan was elected the president of MAA, defeating veteran actor Vijaychander, supported by Chiranjeevi.

Murali Mohan, who is also engaged in real estate and film production business, takes over from K Nagendra Babu, Chiranjeevi's younger brother.

Nagendra Babu was actively involved in the formation of the actor's new party Praja Rajyam.

None of the members of Chiranjeevi's panel could make to the executive of MAA.

Out of the 400-odd votes cast in the elections, Murali Mohan got 244 while his rival Vijaychander polled 116 votes.

Ahuti Prasad from Murali Mohan panel was elected general secretary with 240 votes, defeating Ayyappa P Sharma of Chiranjeevi panel.

This was the second blow for the matinee idol's family as his brother-in-law and noted producer Allu Aravind had recently lost the election held for the post of president of the Andhra Pradesh Film Chamber of Commerce.

The elections to the film bodies reflect the deep divisions in Tollywood, as the Telugu film industry is referred to, on caste and political lines.

When the demi-God of Telugu cinema, late N T Rama Rao, entered politics in 1982, he had the full backing of the industry.

However, the same is not the case with Chiranjeevi. His political foray has evoked snide comments from several film personalities, including actor Rajasekhar, director Tammareddy Bharadwaja and heroine of yesteryears and president of TDP women's wing, Roja.

Chiranjeevi has done precious little for the workers of film industry. His entry into politics is a selfish move to capture power, Roja said.

The rivalry between the fans of Chiranjeevi and N Balakrishna, another popular actor and NTRs son, is well known and on several occasions it spilled on to the streets.

In a bid to counter the star power of Chiranjeevi, the TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has roped in the family members of his father-in-law NTR to campaign for the party.

Naidu is banking on the glamour of NTRs clan to improve the party's prospects particularly in the face of large scale migrations to Chiranjeevi's camp.

NTR's actor-sons Harikrishna and Balakrishna and grandsons and young heroes Junior NTR and Kalyanram have agreed to play an active role in the campaign to bring the regional party back to power.

Balakrishna is expected to make a formal entry into the party with a public meeting at Mahaboobnagar later this month after unveiling the statue of NTR.

Junior NTR, who has considerable following among the youth, and Kalyanram, both sons of Harikrishna, will participate in TDP youth convention being planned at Guntur.

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