Political situation hot up in AP in 2007 ahead of polls

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Hyderabad, Dec 25 (UNI) The year 2007 saw political scene in Andhra Pradesh hotting up with the ruling Congress and opposition parties vying with each other to woo the people well ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections, even as hype was generated over the possible entry of Telugu matinee idol Chiranjeevi into politics.

Close to year-end, the state witnessed an euphoria over the actor's possible entry into politics all over the state as the fans of the actor, affectionately called ''Chiru'', organised meetings and processions in his support, hoping to see their idol repeat the stellar performance of late actor-turned-politician N T Rama Rao, who had swept to power in a dramatic manner by floating the TDP in 1983, putting an end to the long years of Congress rule in the state.

Though the actor was yet to make up his mind on his foray into politics, sources close to the actor said the groundwork had already begun and the actor would plunge into politics at an appropriate time.

The ruling Congress, which went to the elections in 2004 having electoral understanding with the Left parties and the separatist Telangana Rashtra Samiti, got estranged from its allies. On the other hand, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) (made all efforts to get closer to the Left parties and revive the ties, snapped by the latter after the former extended outside support to the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (India) Government at the Centre.

The relations between the Congress and the Left parties became sour after the latter launched in May a protracted struggle for cultivable land and house sites for the poor, and worsened further following the Mudigonda police firing on Left parties' activists.

The Congress was even put to embarassment by its ally All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislators firstly when they roughed up ''controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen for hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community with her writings and later when they allegedly attacked junior doctors at the Niloufer Hospital.

The year saw TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu taking the initiative to form the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) to bring together regional parties opposed to the Congress and BJP, including the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Asom Gana Parishad, (AGP) and holding the first conclave at Vijayawada in support of farmers.

The TDP President, who had all along been concentrating on Information Technology earning the epithet 'high-tech'' Chief Minister during his nine-year rule, declared, ''I am a changed man now.'' He offered to include features of the economic policies of the Left parties so that fruits of the high economic growth reached the downtrodden people.

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