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ChiranjeeviChiranjeevi launches 'Praja Rajyam'
27th Aug 2008  11.00 IST
By Agencies  

In true cinematic style, Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi Tuesday launched his party 'Praja Rajyam' before a mammoth crowd of his fans and supporters pledging to work for social justice as its main agenda and to root out corruption.

He made the much-awaited announcement in the temple town of Tirupati in filmy style after a long speech and a short dialogue session with the assembled gathering.

Soon after he announced the name a short song and sequence came on the giant screen behind him on the dais, which the few lakh audience lapped it up enormously.

The 53-year-old matinee idol and son of a police constable outlined his party's vision in various sectors and also unveiled the party flag -- green and white with the sun in the middle - amidst rapturous applause from the huge gathering.

In his more than hour-long speech, the megastar, however, skirted thorny issues like Telangana statehood demand, naxalism and categorisation of Scheduled Castes, saying a "collective decision" would be taken on these matters after "scientific evaluation".

"On these sensitive issues, I cannot take an immediate decision. We will take inputs from intellectuals and come to a collective decision", Chiranjeevi told the gathering at the sprawling 120-acre Avilala Tank.

Chiranjeevi, a Padma Bhushan awardee, has acted in 148 films. Former President A P J Abdul Kalam had inspired him to take a plunge into politics and vowed to bring about positive change in politics.

Earlier, excited over their matinee idol's political debut, Chiranjeevi's fans went out of control at the site of the public meeting leading police to lathicharge on them.

Thousands of Chiranjeevi fans, who poured in from all over Andhra Pradesh to listen to their star revealing the name and agenda of his party, swamped into the chamber which was allotted for physically challenged people.

Chiranjeevi said his party would work for the empowerment of poor and weaker sections of the society. Touching upon a string of socio-economic issues, he said Praja Rajyam would accord top priority for agricultural development and welfare of farmers, primary health, education, labour welfare, opportunities for youth and women.

The actor, who was the sole speaker at the more than two-hour-long meeting, also promised to come up with a clear-cut policy on regulation of liquor trade.

"Fighting corruption, particularly the political corruption, will be one of our main agenda," Chiranjeevi said. "Change and Social Justice" appeared to be the mantra of mega star as he unveiled his political vision before the gathering.

"Today, we are sounding the bugle for a major battle against the social ills. There are no leaders in the battle but only servants. I am your servant. We will win this battle. No one can stop us," Chiranjeevi said with a dramatic flourish.

On the raging demand for separate Telangana state, Chiranjeevi appeared to tread a cautious path.

Attributing the backwardness in Telangana region to the failure of the successive governments, he said, "If the division becomes inevitable, we will co-operate and assist the process. Let us respect the sentiments of the region which has suffered neglect in all sectors."

Chiranjeevi, who hails from the backward 'Kapu' community, said his party would also work for "additional reservations" for the economically backward among the forward castes.

Invoking Kalam's pet concept of PURA (Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas), he said Praja Rajyam would strive for realising the dream of "Gram Swaraj."

Referring to the controversy over Special Economic Zones, he said his party would oppose acquisition of farmlands for SEZs.

"While we are for industrialisation, we will not allow fertile lands to be taken over in the name of development. We will also oppose selling away of government lands," Chiranjeevi said.

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