Cracks appeared in the Praja Rajyam on Saturday when its vice-president C. Anjaneya Reddy resigned from the primary membership of the party citing lack of transparency in the selection of candidates and the party being too top-heavy as the reasons. Separately, C. Venkateswara Rao, president, State Chiranjeevi Fans Association, who worked to promote the star’s image for close to two decades also announced his resignation. He told the media that his hopes of the party delivering its promise of social justice was dashed and alleged that it had become a commercial proposition – much like a film production house. Mr. Venkateswara Rao and secretary of the association B. Ganapathi later joined the Congress.
Mr. Venkateswara Rao and Mr. Ganapathi accompanied by the Krishna district unit president Yerramsetty Vittal Prasad along with their followers joined the ruling party in the presence of Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy at his camp office.
In East Godavari district, corroborating Mr. Reddy’s charge about secrecy over the choice of candidates, there was confusion in the party’s rank and file, especially aspirants, who almost came to blows in Rajahmundry. They were unable to know whether they were given the party ticket or not. Tensions have been running high among aspirants in this district, considered to be the party’s stronghold. Some groups even gheraoed Rajahmundry Lok Sabha candidate U. V. Krishnam Raju on Saturday.
In a tersely-worded letter to party president K. Chiranjeevi, Mr. Reddy said, “Please accept my resignation from the primary membership of the party with effect from today.” Asked if he had spoken to Mr. Chiranjeevi or Mr. Aravind, the former IPS officer, who was part of PR’s think tank since the beginning, said he did not wish to do so.
He admitted that he had unsuccessfully tried to contact Mr. Aravind for over a week now. “I do not wish to talk to any personal secretary,” he added, voicing out a grievance of several leaders that they do not have free access to Mr. Chiranjeevi.
He said he had never sought a ticket but only wanted to be part of a political process aimed at hitting ‘Rahu and Ketu’, meaning the Congress and the TDP. “People like me believed in the mantra of change promised by Mr. Chiranjeevi and wanted to be in a party that swore to root out corruption and usher in an improved society. I don’t see it happening,” Mr. Reddy said.