Parties react guardedly to Chiranjeevis entry into politics

Hyderabad, Aug 27 | Updated: Aug 29 2008, 05:07am hrs
Political parties in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday reacted guardedly to Telugu superstar Chiranjeevis grand entry into politics, saying the actor was yet to clearly spell out the policies and programmes on his new party Praja Rajyam (Peoples Rule).

While the ruling Congress put up a brave front saying its welfare schemes and innovative development programmes would stand the party in good stead, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party said the filmstar had nothing new to offer.

His (Chirajeevis) maiden political speech (at the temple town of Tirupati ) was virtually silent on key issues facing the state. It was only a piece of cinematic rhetoric, state ministers K Lakshminarayana, N Raghuveera Reddy and T Jeevan Reddy said.

They said the filmstar spoke in general terms about the problems of various sections but failed to explain how he would go about solving them.

There was no clarity on important issues like Telangana, categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Naxalism. He also did not spell out his partys policies and programmes, the ministers told reporters.

After months of speculation, Chiranjeevi, a popular hero who acted in 148 films in a three decade-long career, launched his party before a mammoth gathering at Tirupati on Tuesday in an event that evoked memories of matinee idol late NT Rama Rao taking the political plunge at the same venue over 25 years ago.

While asserting that his party would strive for social justice and welfare of the weaker sections and farmers, Chiranjeevi skirted thorny issues like Telangana saying a collective decision would be taken on all sensitive matters after a wider debate. What is the new thing that he has said wondered TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu.

In democracy, anyone can join politics and launch a party. Ultimately, the people will decide based on your policies and programmes. The TDP is always with the people, trying to understand and solve their problems, Naidu, whose party has suffered desertions in recent times, said.

The TDP deputy floor leader in the Assembly N Janardhan Reddy said Chiranjeevi was yet to unveil details of his political agenda.

Acknowledging that Chiranjeevi would certainly make an impact on the state politics scene, CPI (M) Secretary BV Raghavulu said his party would consider to joining hands with Praja Rajyam only if it came up with a clear policy statement on key issues. He has not stated his partys stand on issues like federalism, Indo-US nuclear deal, communal politics and the need for forging a third alternative, Raghavulu said.