Krishnam Raju, Murali Mohan in star fight for Rajahmundry

April 4th, 2009 - 12:28 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Hyderabad, April 4 (IANS) It will be a clash of stars in the Rajahmundry Lok Sabha constituency in coastal Andhra Pradesh as the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) has fielded veteran actor U.V. Krishnam Raju against Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP) Murali Mohan.
It is expected to be an interesting three-cornered contest as the ruling Congress party’s U. Arun Kumar is seeking re-election.

Krishnam Raju, popularly known as the “rebel star”, recently quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the PRP of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi. The former central minister’s name figures in the seventh list of candidates released by the PRP Friday night.

Though Krishnam Raju was keen to contest from either Kakinada or Narsapur, the constituencies he represented earlier, Chiranjeevi has pitted him against another actor of yesteryears Murali Mohan.

Krishnam Raju, who plunged into politics in the early 1990s, contested the 1991 Lok Sabha elections on a Congress ticket from Narsapur constituency, but lost.

He later joined BJP and got elected twice to Lok Sabha from Kakinada and Narsapur in the 1998 and 1999 elections respectively. He also served as minister of state for external affairs in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government from 2000 to 2004 but lost the 2004 elections from Narsapur.

Since then, he was keeping a low-profile and was unhappy with the style of functioning of the BJP. While joining the PRP a few days ago, he had said that he was impressed by the policies of megastar Chiranjeevi.

Krishnam Raju, who began his film career in 1966, was a popular actor in the 1970s and 1980s and has acted in over 180 films. He is the fourth film personality in Andhra Pradesh to join the race for this month’s Lok Sabha elections.

Popular actress Vijayshanti is contesting as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate from Medak while Chiranjeevi’s brother-in-law and film producer Allu Aravind is the PRP candidate from Ankapalli.

Though Murali Mohan, a contemporary of Krishnam Raju, has been an active leader in the TDP for many years, this is the first time that he is contesting an election.

Murali Mohan, who started his career in the early 1970s, acted in several films over the next one decade. He later turned a producer. After taking a break from active cinema, he joined TDP and became chairman of the Andhra Pradesh Film Development Corporation. He also started the construction company Jayabher Group, which built many residential projects in and around Hyderabad.

The two actors will be facing Arun Kumar, the sitting Congress MP who has been in the news for taking on media baron Ramoji Rao. However, he faces an uphill task this time as a section of the electorate in Rajahmundry feels that he has not done much for the constituency’s development.

The BJP, which won this seat in 1998 and 1999, has fielded its state general secretary Somu Veeraju but he is not considered a strong candidate.

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