Top Telugu stars to clash in Andhra polls

November 7th, 2008 - 3:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Nov 7 (IANS) The ensuing elections in Andhra Pradesh are likely to witness a keen tussle among top stars of the Telugu film industry, with the ruling Congress party planning to rope in popular actor Akkineni Nagarjuna to counter superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi as well as former chief minister N.T. Rama Rao’s sons and grandsons.With Chiranjeevi launching his Praja Rajyam party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) banking on its founder NTR’s family, the ruling party too has decided to utilise some film glamour.

After roping in Nagarjuna to act in some television advertisements to publicise its welfare schemes, the Congress is planning to convince him to campaign for the party in the elections, due to be held in March-April next year.

The Congress began its efforts to rope in Nagarjuna soon after a massive public meeting organised by TDP in Guntur. NTR’s son and popular actor N. Balakarishna took a plunge into politics at the meeting, which was also attended by two actor grandsons of NTR.

The ruling party’s move also came amid the ongoing state-wide ‘yatra’ of Chiranjeevi, who is attracting huge crowds.

Nagarjuna, son of thespian Akkineni Nageswara Rao, already featured in some advertisements highlighting welfare schemes of the Congress government. These advertisements hit television screens two days ago.

The 49-year-old actor, who has a mass following, had acted in few advertisements on behalf of TDP before the 2004 elections.

Though Congress leaders often claimed that Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy alone was capable of taking on actors like Chiranjeevi and Balakrishna, the party now seems to have realised that it needs star charisma to retain power.

Congress has already made efforts to woo young and popular actor Mahesh Babu to campaign for the party. While Mahesh Babu remained non-committal, his father and superstar of yesteryears Krishna has already announced that he would support the ruling party. Krishna, a former Congress MP, even formed an association of fans called Krishna-Mahesh Sena.

The ruling party recently inducted actors like Rajasekhar, his wife Jeevitha, Jayasudha and Srihari to add glamour in its ranks.

Though TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu has not yet succeeded in roping in NTR’s grandson and one of the top actors Junior NTR, his party is confident after the success of the Guntur meeting that the star appeal of Balakrishna, his brother and TDP MP Harkrishna, NTR’s grandsons Tarakaranta and Kalyan Ram was enough to bring the party back to power.

While both Congress and TDP were adding several stars in their ranks, Chiranjeevi is fighting a lone battle by banking heavily on his fan following.

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