Chiranjeevi writes a new script

Spin doctors comprising former IAS and IPS officers,an international film distribution company that is doubling up as a campaign management agency....

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Published:March 26, 2009 12:02 am

Spin doctors comprising former IAS and IPS officers,an international film distribution company that is doubling up as a campaign management agency,a multi-pronged e-campaign,human intelligence from the grassroots and a 21-point selection criteria for candidates. Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) is leaving nothing to chance.

Every day of the past month,a team of former bureaucrats and police officers,lawyers and political leaders have been sitting down with reports sent by teams of party workers from various Assembly segments to pick the right candidates. They match their instincts,and the probable candidate’s popularity chart,with a report generated by computers using a dedicated software. The computers pit the probable names against a 21-point criteria,which,among other things,include understanding of local issues,participation in social work,credibility in public,acceptability among other castes,and education.

“The computers come at the second stage before the decision is taken. We rely primarily on what our teams report. These teams have fanned out in all constituencies,observing and interviewing persons involved in public and social life and assessing their chances of winning. Even if a probable candidate belongs to the dominant caste in his area,it is important that he is acceptable to voters of other castes and communities too,” says PRP leader T Sesha Narayan.

The party’s think-tank has three officers,who recently quit the civil service for the PRP — former Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) T Chandrasekhar,who hails from Guntur district,V Varaprasad Rao (Tamil Nadu cadre) who quit as Principal Secretary,Information,and K V Rao who quit as Principal Secretary of Infrastructure and Industry. Former IPS officer C Anjaneya Reddy is also a part of the team,members of which may be asked to contest either to the Lok Sabha or the Assembly.

Politicians who quit other parties to join the PRP chip in with their valuable field experience,including providing information on vital caste combinations and voting patterns. “They head different committees in the party and make valuable contributions in helping the party leadership to take decisions,” says chief spokesperson Dr P Mitra Reddy.

The party’s high-pitched campaign programme and event management is being handled by a film distribution company that screens Telugu films in South-East Asia,Eastern Europe,UK and the US. The company earlier used to distribute films produced by Allu Aravind,brother-in-law of PRP chief Chiranjeevi. “The company has years of experience in planning and organising publicity events on a massive scale. Due to its association with Allu Aravind,the company naturally took over the campaign and publicity management for Chiranjeevi and his party,” says PRP coordinator Rajkumar. So far,the company has managed 191 roadshows in 21 districts and three mammoth public meetings. The company also organises photo shoots and directs the party’s TV commercials. Chiranjeevi himself has appeared in a couple of these videos.

It was a conscious decision that neither Chiranjeevi nor brother Pavan Kalyan will don khadi whites—the traditional attire of politicians. Instead,they slip into cotton shirts with trousers or jeans,making it easier to mingle with the masses.

Borrowing from the Gujarat BJP’s successful Modi masks idea,the PRP has ordered thousands of non-toxic Chiranjeevi masks that are now distributed at every public meeting and roadshow. The IT and Communication Cell ensures that there is a steady flow of text and voice messages to the people.

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