Amidst speculation that Allu Aravind would be contesting from Machilipatnam LS constituency, the all-powerful brother-in-law of Prajarajyam Party (PRP) chief Chiranjeevi is undertaking a tour of Krishna district along with Chiranjeevi. Chiranjeevi is set to begin his Praja Ankita Yatra in the district from March 17, which would last for four days. This is the first time that Aravind is accompanying Chiranjeevi in his tour ever since the launch of the party about seven months ago. Allu Aravind, who has many relatives in the district, is actively considering contesting from the Machilipatnam constituency, which has a large population of Kapus. According to sources, the presence of about four lakh Kapus in this constituency has made the PRP strongman to choose it as a safe haven to contest. Though Aravind has dropped enough hints about his keenness on contesting elections a few weeks ago, he did not spell out his strategy. He said Chiranjeevi would take the final call in this regard. Aravind, who ruled out the possibility of Nagababu and Pavan Kalyan contesting the elections has, however, kept the cadres guessing on his probable seat. Curiously, Aravind’s brother-in-law Bade Babu Rao is the only other name that is doing the rounds as the likely candidate for the Machilipatnam LS constituency in spite of the presence of a good number of senior leaders such as Buragadda Vedavyas, Kamineni Srinivas, K P Reddaiah Yadav and Simhadri Chandrasekhar. While K P Reddy served as Machilipatnam MP in the past, Chandrasekhar’s father Satyanarayana served as a minister in the state cabinet. Meanwhile, the PRP cadres are jubilant over the decision of Aravind to visit the district along with Chiranjeevi. The recent trouble in the Krishna district party following a dispute between rural committee convenor Muttamsetty Vijayanirmala and urban committee convenor Kesineni Nani was settled after the sacking of both the leaders from their posts. “Because of this wrangle, Chiranjeevi postponed his tour to the district at least thrice in the past,” a PRP leader said. It remains to be seen whether Chiranjeevi would make any official announcement with regard to fielding Aravind from Machilipatnam constituency. While Congress is likely to retain sitting MP Badiga Ramakrishna (a Kapu), the TDP is still in search of a right candidate.
Sitting Congress MLA from Malakpet Assembly Constituency, Malreddy Ranga Reddy is all set to join Praja Rajyam Party (PRP). The MLA is said to have taken the decision after he was denied party ticket from Malakpet and also from newly created LB Nagar Assembly Constituencies.
Sources said Malakpet has been left for MIM as part of a deal between the Congress and MIM, while LB Nagar ticket is being given to Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy’s trusted man Sudhir Reddy.
And Malreddy Ranga Reddy, who is losing Malakpet seat, has been compensated with Ibrahimpatnam Assembly seat. However, Malreddy is not willing to contest from this seat because his mentor Girish Sanghi’s wife Alka Sanghi want to contest from this place.
Girish Sanghi is learnt to have asked Malreddy to clear way for his wife Alka and Malreddy cannot disobey his mentor’s directive, sources said. If he had not got the support of Girish Sanghi, Malreddy would not have come to this stage. So, he is bound to clear way for Alka Sanghi.
However, Congress leadership has no sympathy for Malreddy’s situation and it is learnt the leadership has asked him either to contest from Ibrahimpatnam or keep silent. In this situation, Malreddy is learnt to have prepared ground for his entry into PRP after getting an assurance from the party chief Chiranjeevi that he will get PRP ticket from LB Nagar Assembly Constituency.
The sitting MLA is likely to announce his decision in a couple of days, sources said.
The Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) president, Mr K Chiranjeevi, on Thursday, admitted to have invited the Narasapur MLA and former minister in Telugu Desam Party (TDP) regime, Mr Kothapalli Subbarayudu, into his party.
Talking to reporter at Gudivada in Krishna district, he said had in fact wanted Mr Subbarayudu to join the PRP to strengthen the party in West Godavari district. But there was no response from him, he said.
“It up to him to decide whether to join the PRP,” he said. Mr Subbarayudu was still welcome into the party, he said.
He described the Grand Alliance, comprising the TDP, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), as a “rocking horse.” The alliance was a mysterious combination of forces, he said.
Mr Chiranjeevi promised to ensure that all the programmes launched by late N T Rama Rao are implemented if his party was elected to power. He was proud to have been treading the path in the footsteps of late NTR.
Talks are on with leaders of regional parties in Mizoram, Goa, Puducherry and Kerala for getting a “temporary common symbol” for the Praja Rajyam (PR), said its president K. Chiranjeevi here on Wednesday, even as he maintained that the party would approach the Supreme Court again.
Addressing a press conference before setting out on the second day of his road shows in Krishna district, Mr. Chiranjeevi said that it was wrongly reported in a section of the media that the PR was negotiating with parties in Sikkim for the symbol.
He said the PR had withdrawn its petition on common symbol from the High Court, but would approach the Supreme Court.
Asked if the ground was being prepared for Allu Aravind to contest from Machilipatnam Lok Sabha constituency, Mr. Chiranjeevi said no decision had been taken on whether or not Mr. Aravind would contest in the elections. Mr. Aravind’s services were actually needed to run the party organisation, but if the party decided that he should contest, then Machilipatnam would be a “good place”, he said.
About the campaign of NTR Jr., Mr. Chiranjeevi said he had nothing to say except that NTR Jr. was a “small boy” and that the two campaigns could not be compared.
Mr. Chiranjeevi claimed that he was not going before the people as an actor.
After realising that he was fighting a losing battle with the Election Commission, Praja Rajyam Party president Chiranjeevi withdrew his petition in the Supreme Court and the High Court seeking common symbol and is desperately trying for contesting on other party symbols.
According to inside information, every party which Chiru approached demanded huge amounts for allotting its symbol, apart from a few seats for its own candidates. For instance, Janata Dal (U) president Sharad Yadav is learnt to have demanded Rs 20 crore and five Lok Sabha seats.
Back home, NTR-Telugu Desam party president Lakshmi Parvathi also is learnt to have demanded Rs 5 crore from Chiranjeevi for giving her party’s lion symbol for PRP, apart from a Lok Sabha ticket to her.
This was not acceptable to Chiru. Finally, the deal was reportedly struck with lesser known party Sikkim Democratic Front for Rs 2 crore for borrowing its “umbrella” symbol!
It may be recalled that since a long time that the Rebel Star Krishnam Raju who is in BJP will join the congress party. However the BJP party leaders are trying to prevent the shift.
When the situation is like this rumors are going on that the actor Krishnam Raju and Gokaraju Ramaraju alias Ramam the ex member of TTD and who aspired for the congress ticket from Bhimavaram will join Prajarajyam party. It is also learnt that the issue was finalized and they would join Prajarajyam Party on 21 March in Prajaranabheri going to be held.
The Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy camp is dejected that the Congress president, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, has overlooked the Chief Minister’s objections while selecting candidates from the Lok Sabha seats in the state.
It is reliably learnt that Dr Reddy had secured approval for some names from the screening committee headed by the Union minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. These names were turned down by Mrs Gandhi.
Dr Reddy had proposed fielding the Union minister of state, Ms D. Purandareswari, from Guntur, displacing the sitting MP, Mr Rayapati Sambasiva Rao. He wanted Mr T. Subbarami Reddy, Rajya Sabha member, to contest from Visakhapatnam.
But the Central Election Committee, headed by Mrs Gandhi, decided at the very first instance to not field Rajya Sabha members for the election. With this, Ms Purandareswari is being fielded from Visakhapatnam and Mr Sambasiva Rao gets renomination from Guntur.
On accommodating the Union minister, Mr S. Jaipal Reddy, Mrs Gandhi’s political secretary, Mr Ahmed Patel, reportedly suggested the new Chevella LS seat, and it was okayed. Dr Reddy had proposed either Mr Kitchannagari Laxmar-eddy or Mr R. Krishnaiah, a prominent BC leader. Even the name of Mr Kasani Gyaneswar proposed by Dr Reddy was not considered.
Mr Madhu Yashki Goud was nominated from Niza-mabad and Mr G.V. Harsha Kumar from Amalapuram despite opposition from the Chief Minister. Both have opposed the Chief Minister, Mr Goud on Telangana and Mr Kumar on SC categorisation.
An important political aide of the Chief Minister told this correspondent that the selection of party candidates is the preragotive of the high command but pointed out that Rajya Sabha members were fielded by the party in the general elections in the past.
He said that the list was not final would still see some changes. “Though we are not hundred per cent satisfied with the list we cannot help it,” he told this correspondent.
“The Chief Minister has been saying that the list will have only the Sonia mark.”
It is just eight months since he floated his political party but Telugu megastar Chiranjeevi is very confident of winning the Andhra Pradesh assembly polls, being held along with the Lok Sabha elections April 16 and 23, and promises he will bring ‘a change’ in the state.
‘We will definitely get a number with which we can form government. I am confident,’ the 53-year-old Chiranjeevi told IANS in an exclusive interview, even rubbishing prospects of a hung assembly.
‘As of today I don’t entertain that kind of thought (of a hung assembly). I am confident that we are going to win. There is no chance of a hung assembly,’ the cine star, who launched his Praja Rajyam Party in August last year, said.
The actor, who belongs to the Kapu community, also hinted at the formation of a ‘fourth front’ with his party at the national level. ‘I think a fourth front will take shape. Some parties have already started discussing this,’ he said.
The megastar is hoping to better the record of his predecessor and matinee idol N.T. Rama Rao, who became chief minister within nine months of launching the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 1982. He has acted in 149 films and ruled the Telugu film industry for over two decades.
So what makes Konidela Siva Shankara Varaprasad or Chiranjeevi different from his rivals. In this exclusive interview to IANS, he spoke about his ambitions and his vision.
Q: You said you entered politics to serve the people. All parties including Congress and TDP claim they are fighting for the poor. How different are you and your party from others?
A. They may say the same dialogue but I have the sincerity. I am a white paper. I have a clean image. I want to serve the people with humility and sincerity. Politicians have made use of peoples’ votes but do not care for them. There are no roads, public transportation, health and educational facilities. They claim the state has developed but the fact is that a very pathetic situation is prevailing in the state and people are dying of hunger.
Q: How do you see your party’s prospects? How many seats is it going to win in the assembly elections?
A: We will definitely get a number with which we can form government. I am confident. (The party needs 147 seats for simple majority in the 294-member assembly). Some people have come out with fake surveys. They want to demoralise our cadres. But people have realised this and they are consolidating the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP).
Q: In the event of the elections throwing up a hung assembly, which party would you like to join hands with?
A: As of today I don’t entertain that kind of thought. I am confident that we are going to win. There is no chance of a hung assembly.
Q: You have been attracting huge crowds at every public meeting but do you think your party can convert this support into votes, and how are you going to achieve this?
A: I take the major responsibility of converting this support into votes. There are also local leaders. Our schemes and our promises will make people vote for us. For instance, we are promising a scheme under which a poor family will get a month’s ration only at Rs.100. This scheme is necessary in a state like ours where the poor are dying of starvation.
Q: By promising such schemes, do you want to become another NTR?
A: I don’t compare myself with the late NTR, but I want to give livelihood to people. He was pro-poor and people want me to substitute him and bring a change, and I will do that.
Q: The Congress government claims that it implemented several pro-people schemes during the last five years and is seeking another term on the basis of its performance. Your comment?
A: Some of these schemes were very good but behind these schemes there is corruption and commission. It is a sugar-coated poison. They are looting public money.
Q: What role do you foresee for your party at the national level. Will it join the Third Front?
A: We are concentrating on state politics. We have to work on what role we will have at the national level. I think a fourth front will take shape. Some parties have already started discussing this. As of today I don’t know which parties will come together to form such a front.
Q: Will the Third Front minus TDP become the fourth front?
A: Anything may happen.
Q: What about Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party?
A: Mr Pawar offered his party’s symbol to us but we have other options also. There is still time and we have filed an appeal in the court seeking a common symbol for the party following the Election Commission’s refusal to grant us the same.
Chiranjeevi had wanted the symbol of the railway engine for his party, but the poll panel refused, saying it is a new party and has not fought the elections.
Though the PRP has yet to come out with an official poll manifesto, the proposals in its draft manifesto include promising free education to girls from kindergarten to post graduation level, and free education to boys and girls from poor families.
The state will hold simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls on April 16 and 23.
If at a public meeting of the Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi, you encounter hundreds, if not thousands of ‘Chiranjeevis’ huddled in a particular corner, don’t be surprised. That’s how the PR is trying to draw attention to its president. In the race to be one up during campaign for the ensuing elections, they have gone in for what is considered a first in Andhra Pradesh — masks of the party president, made of soft, non-toxic latex which is the same material used to make soft toys. Moving Pixels, an Ahmedabad-based company, has been entrusted the task of making the masks and the first batch was delivered to the party on the same day as Mr. Chiranjeevi’s public meeting in Rajahmundry, two days ago. Manish Bardia, CEO, Moving Pixels, said as far as India was concerned, Mr. Chiranjeevi was the second after Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to use the masks. As for the masks themselves, they were also the first realistic ones that did not use caricatures as the base. “We took extensive 360 degree and grid photographs, did 360 degree profiling and took 85 measurements from different angles, after which we prepared plaster moulds. The first mould took us 15 days. The second and final one took almost a month and has been accepted in toto,” he said. Minimal use Interestingly, masks of former British Prime Minister, American presidents like Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagon and more recently, those of Barack Obama have been used primarily for Halloween parties, apart from minimal use during elections. “We expect widespread use of the masks during Mr. Chiranjeevi’s election campaign,” Mr. Bardia said. Hundreds of ‘Chiranjeevis’ will be present at public meetings of Praja Rajyam president Chiranjeevi
Chiru playing holi at Airport
Praja Rajyam has pooh-poohed the YSR government’s claim of providing irrigation water to 14 lakh acres in the State and wanted the Congress to come out with a white paper. While the party had promised in its 2004 election manifesto to irrigate 1 crore acres, it announced in the recent development campaign to have irrigated 14 lakh acres. “In reality, the government failed to provide an additional ayacut of even 14,000 acres. If so, we demand the Congress to release a white paper showing the projects through which water was released, the region-wise and district-wise break-up of crops sown with the additional water and the yield thus accrued to farmers,” PR State coordinating secretary (Farm Affairs), Myna Swamy, told reporters here on Thursday. Even as the farm sector continued to reel under crisis, the government unabashedly painted a rosy picture, ignoring the reports submitted by the committees headed by Jayati Ghosh and M.S. Swaminathan. He wanted that the reports be made public and the recommendations implemented. Flaying the Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy regime for failing to provide power even four hours a day to the farmers, PR promised to give quality power for ten hours.