Mega Star Chiranjeevi enters politics

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Hyderabad, Aug 17 : Inspired by actor-turned politician N T Rama Rao, who created history by coming to power, trouncing the Congress, nine months after floating his party, Tollywood superstar Chiranjeevi today announced his entry into politics ahead of the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh.

Ending the prolonged suspense, the actor, popularly known as 'Chiru' among his fans, announced at a crowded press conference here that he would float a new party, as an ''alternative'' to the ruling Congress and the main Opposition TDP, which had been ruling the roost for decades. The actor, belonging to the 'Kaapu' community, would outline the policies and programmes of the new outfit at a public meeting in Tirupati on August 26, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Mother Teresa, who was his inspiration for starting a host of social service activities, including blood and eye banks.

Even before the party's formal launch, the TDP and the Congress had begun to feel the ''impact.'' Several TDP leaders, including Mr C Ramachandraiah, MP, Mr Bhuma Nagi Reddy and Mr Sobha Nagi Reddy, Mr Khaleel Basha and Mr K Vidyadhar Rao had already quit the party looking for ''green pastures.'' TDP MP D K Adikeshavulu Naidu, who had allegedly cross-voted for the UPA Government at the Centre during the trust vote, is also tipped to join the actor's party.

TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu had cut short his 'Meekosam Yatra' in the state in view of the new political developments.

The ruling Congress too had its cup of woes as it could not take any disciplinary action against its Narsapur MP C Harirama Jogaiah, who openly came out in support of Chiranjeevi, owing to ''wafer thin majority'' in the Lok Sabha. Though, he still continued in the ruling party, he had made it clear that he would quit the Congress soon after the actor, who had an impressive film career spanning over 30 years, launched his party.

Leaders of various parties, including the CPI and the Nava Telangana Praja Party (NTPP), floated by former Home Minister T Devender Goud, after quitting the TDP recently, were already in touch with the star's camp and likely to join him well before the polls, sources close to the actor said.

In October, 1998, he started the Chiranjeevi Eye and Blood Bank and Charitable Trust, which won the 'Best Voluntary Blood Bank Award' from the Andhra Pradesh Government in the last four years.

On June 10, 2006, the then President A P J Abdul Kalam inaugurated the Chiranjeevi Charitable Foundation (CCF), which had given a new life to over one lakh people in the state.

Recipient of Padma Bhushan and Nandi award thrice, Chiranjeevi, also known as Annayya (elder brother), had to his credit several box office hits including 'Gang Leader,' 'Gharana Mogudu,' 'Indra,' 'Tagore,' and 'Shankardada MBBS.' He had also acted in three Hindi and two Kannada movies.

Born on August 22, 1955, to Venkat Rao and Anajani Devi in Mogaltur near Narsapur in West Godavari district, he was christened Konidela Siva Shankara Vara Prasad by his parents.

After graduating from Y N College in Narsapuram, Chiranjeevi went to Chennai seeking a career in films and joined an acting school there. He shot into fame with his performance in 'Khaidi.'

UNI

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