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Trouble in PRP: poll flop blame falls on Chiru’s brother-in-law

Having performed poorly in the elections,film star Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) is in total disarray with several party leaders....

Having performed poorly in the elections,film star Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) is in total disarray with several party leaders demanding the removal of Allu Aravind,the film producer brother-in-law of the actor and the party general secretary. The party’s political affairs committee (PAC) and other leaders have blamed him for the party’s debacle in the elections. The PRP could win only 18 of the 294 Assembly seats,and not a single Lok Sabha seat.

Though Chiranjeevi has defended his brother-in-law strongly,he is watching his nine-month-old party fall apart.

Party leaders including PAC chairman P Ramachandraiah are learnt to have told Chiranjeevi without mincing words that the allegations of selling tickets against Aravind had turned the tide against the party. At the PAC meeting after the elections,he told Chiranjeevi that the goodwill created by the film star was wiped out by the allegations that the party sold tickets,and that money was taken from candidates to fund the helicopter expenses of Chiranjeevi,Aravind and other family members.

Aravind,Chiranjeevi’s mentor and the brain behind the party,was instrumental in deciding the candidates. “The choice of candidates — some weak,some without any experience — led to these allegations. Nany questioned such selections,which were made bypassing party rules,” said PRP leader T Shesh Narayan.

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Party sources said that the angst among his party leaders perturbed Chiranjeevi who tried to defend his brother-in-law only to face a barrage of questions and allegations,and resignations. He was asked why names of several candidates were announced even before the PAC and the party election committee took a decision.Taking responsibility for the poll debacle,the PAC has dissolved itself without waiting for Chiranjeevi’s nod.

Party sources said that,in a way,the apprehensions expressed by some senior leaders like former Congress MP Hariram Jogaiah,who quit and joined the PRP,have come true. Jogaiah,in a letter to Chiranjeevi,had cautioned him against thinking that the adulation of fans would translate into votes. “After analysing the party’s performance,party leaders have singled out one particular reason — allegations of ticket sale. In fact,in the first PAC meeting after the poll debacle,an angry Jogaiah told Chiranjeevi that the allegations that the party sold tickets resulted in the debacle,” a source said.

Brushing aside Chiranjeevi’s defence that the party’s over emphasis on social justice failed to create an impact,Jogaiah said the allegations affected the party so strongly that not only did Aravind lose from Anakapalli Lok Sabha seat,Chiranjeevi too lost from Palacole in his home district of West Godavari although he won the Tirupati seat.

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With PRP leaders baying for his blood,Aravind on Friday offered to resign from the post and sent a letter to Chiranjeevi,who is yet to accept it.

Meanwhile,Chirajeevi released a statement denying the allegations. “There seems to be a conspiracy against Aravind,everyone is ganging up against him. We gave tickets to 100 candidates from the weaker sections,who came from a poor background. How can they buy tickets? We followed particular criteria in the selection of candidates but at no point of time did we field any by taking money.”

First published on: 25-05-2009 at 02:23:50 am
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