Chiranjeevi’s glamour fails to impress voters

May 16th, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) The glamour quotient of Telugu superstar K. Chiranjeevi failed to garner votes as his Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) appeared to be heading for a crushing defeat in the Andhra Pradesh assembly elections.

Despite a high-pitch campaign and tall claims, the PRP launched by the actor in August last year came a cropper as the votes were counted Saturday.

Initial trends from all 294 assembly constituencies show the party is leading in only 20 assembly constituencies. The party candidates are leading in two out of 42 Lok Sabha constituencies.

The only consolation for Chiranjeevi is that despite a poor performance, his party may hold the key to power as both the ruling Congress party and the four-party grand alliance led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) appear to stop short of majority.

There was gloom in PRP camp, as the actor had been hopeful of his party reaching the magic figure of 148.

Chiranjeevi himself was trailing in Palacole assembly constituency in his native West Godavari district, though he was ahead in Tirupati, the other assembly segment he is contesting.

The party failed to make any impact even in East and West Godavari districts and some other parts of coastal Andhra, where it was expected to do well. The presence of PRP only seemed to have affected the prospects of TDP in some constituencies and of Congress in some others.

The trends are a big blow to the 53-year-old actor, who had launched the party with a mammoth public meeting in Tirupati amid high expectations from his fans.

After a three-decade-long film career, his plunge into politics was expected to dramatically alter the political equations in the state. Pundits had compared the event to the political entry of the legendary actor N.T. Rama Rao, who created history by coming to power within nine months after launching TDP in 1982.

Though as a film star the popularity of Chiranjeevi was comparable to that of NTR, he failed to match NTR in politics.

Chiranjeevi, who launched the party on the slogan of social justice, had hoped to become the first Andhra Pradesh chief minister from his Kapu community. Despite having a sizeable majority, the community is yet to have its leader as chief minister in a state where most of the chief ministers were either from Reddys or Kammas, the two dominant castes.

The migration of several leaders from TDP to Chiranjeevi’s camp also failed to help the party. PRP’s prospects were also hit by series of resignations by its leaders before the elections to protest the manner in which tickets were distributed.

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