Popular actor Chiranjeevi on Sunday formally announced his entry into politics, with assembly polls just eight months away.
Telugu cinema’s highest-paid actor held forth on a wide range of subjects for over an hour at his first media interaction. He handled uncomfortable questions with élan and his replies gave nothing away, something unexpected from a political greenhorn.
The 53-year-old said he was inspired by former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam to join politics. There was a political vacuum in the state, which he hoped to fill. “I would have committed a historical blunder had I not entered politics,” he said, adding the system was not as polluted “as we” think.
The name of the party, its flag and its agenda will be unveiled at the party's first public meeting at Tirupati on August 26.
Thanking his well-wishers, the actor said he would try to remove the sufferings of the poor. Pro-poor policies and social justice will be the party’s main agenda, he said.
Chiranjeevi said electoral tie-ups would be considered later and claimed he had no enemies. “My main enemies are poverty and backwardness. I will fight against them.” He said the people would decide his role after elections. He was vague about which constituency he would contest from.
He said he wasn’t quitting films but was open to only educational and meaningful ones. On declaring his assets, the actor said he had filed his income tax returns and it could be accessed with the help of the RTI act.
State politics has largely remained bipolar and the new party is expected to cause an exodus from both the Congress and the TDP.
Even as Chiranjeevi held forth his views, Congress MP Ch Harirama Jogiah resigned and said he would join the new party, criticising the way the Congress was run by chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.