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Trouble in Praja Rajyam: Chiru hands over party to family,loses fans

Telugu actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi is nowadays learning some important political lessons and that too,the hard way.....

Telugu actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi is nowadays learning some important political lessons and that too,the hard way. His Praja Rajyam Party (PRP),which promised to bring in change in the state,is in trouble with many leaders,including former bureaucrats,threatening to quit the party. These leaders have alleged mismanagement of the party affairs by Chiranjeevi’s family and have also accused the party leadership of being autocratic.

Though so far the PRP president’s response has been that these leaders are being childish,party leaders admit that Chiranjeevi is extremely upset. Many of his friends,fans and leaders of fan associations have deserted the party after being denied tickets to contest the election. In fact,some of them have alleged that the party sold its tickets.

Besides,some former bureaucrats and political leaders,who quit the Congress and the TDP to join the PRP,have expressed their disillusionment regarding the manner in which the party is being run.

On Sunday,former IPS officer C Anjaneyya Reddy resigned from the party. He was,however,cajoled back by Chiranjeevi. Reddy apparently did not like the ‘undemocratic and not-so-transparent’ functioning of the party. Though Reddy agreed to withdraw his resignation,sources say that he is unlikely to work wholeheartedly. He was once an important member of the party’s core committee and was appointed security adviser to Chiranjeevi.

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The party’s two spokespersons — Dr P Mitra Reddy and Parkala Prabhakar — are lying low these days as they have no important role to play. Prabhakar has stopped attending office,according to sources. Mitra Reddy has decided to quit after the polls. Both of them wanted to contest polls but were denied tickets.

C Hariram Jogiah and K Vidyadhar Rao — two senior leaders who joined the PRP even before it was formally launched — claim that the party has lost direction. “It has become a family-run party. Chiranjeevi’s brother-in-law Allu Aravind calls the shots. No one knows what is happening in the party. We come to know of decisions taken by the party through the media,” Jogiah says.

Chiranjeevi has also been accused of ignoring the core strength of his party — his fans clubs. In a major jolt to the party,president of the Chiranjeevi Yuvatha (youth wing) C Venkateswara Rao joined the Congress along with his supporters. Rao says: “Chiranjeevi and his brothers used us to increase their popularity. But when it came to allotting tickets,we were overlooked.” In fact,members of 20 Chirajeevi fan clubs and associations have decided not to campaign for the matinee idol.

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In coastal Andhra,PRP workers went on a rampage as many leaders who were hoping to get party tickets were left out. In the coastal districts of the state,supporters of local leaders who have been denied tickets regularly clash with supporters of the party’s official nominees.

“The PRP headquarters here resembles a fortress these days. Security had to be stepped up to prevent angry workers from attacking the office and leaders,” PRP’s chairman of media relations committee T Sesha Narayana says.

Several PRP leaders are upset that T Devender Goud,president of the Nava Telangana Party who merged his party with the PRP,managed to get tickets for his friends while loyal supporters of Chiranjeevi were left out.

First published on: 07-04-2009 at 01:42:22 am
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