JAGGAMPETA: Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi expressed confidence that his party will be ahead of all others in the forthcoming elections and cross the ‘magic figure’ of 150 seats to form the government in the State.
Sporting a silk dhoti and ‘kanduva’ in true Telugu style to celebrate Ugadi, Mr. Chiranjeevi released the first list of 100 Assembly and nine Lok Sabha candidates. He said at a press conference that this Ugadi would be a turning point in his life as his party was confident in capturing power.
Social justice plank
Replying to a question, he said his commitment to social justice was reflected in the first list in which 73 per cent of the seats were given to the weaker sections.
He said that perhaps for the first time a person belonging to the Most Backward Class (MBC) – Moucha, a Madiga sub caste – was given a ticket.
The candidate was Rajamouli for the Warangal (SC) Lok Sabha seat. In fact, Backward Classes and Scheduled Castes had been given the ticket even for the general seats.
Asked how the party would handle dissidence after announcing the entire list of candidates, he said the Praja Rajyam workers were disciplined, although there would be some people who could not control their anger and anguish.
Senior party leaders Harirama Jogaiah, K.S.R. Murthy and M.S. Chakravarti, Vanga Geetha and Jyothula Nehru were present.
Later, Mr. Chiranjeevi was visibly jubilant on getting news over phone from his brother-in-law Allu Aravind that the Supreme Court had asked the Election Commission to allot the symbol of ‘rail engine’ to the Praja Rajyam. “My train has arrived. This is the Ugadi gift to me and activists of the Praja Rajyam,” he added. The actor who was in Kattamuru village in Peddapuram mandal, put his trademark gesture of widened hands with both the thumbs up and declared to the gathering “we have got a common symbol.”
The Praja Rajyam president announced earlier in the day that Mr. Allu Aravind would contest the elections from a place which was yet to be decided while his actor brothers – Naga Babu and Pavan Kalyan – would keep away from the fray.
As party activists released balloons symbolising the colours of the Praja Rajyam’s flag, scores of women jostled to put vermillion on his forehead and offer ‘harati’ at several places in Jaggampeta, Katravulapalli, Timmapuram and other junctions.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Chiranjeevi was blessed by pundits who read out Vedic hymns as also the Telugu almanac for the New Year.
As the clock struck 9.27 a.m., the party leader began announcing the names of his party candidates.
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