Joining the Telangana bandwagon, Telugu superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi on Friday declared that his Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) would not stand as a hurdle if the central government came forth with a proposal to accord separate statehood to the region of the Andhra Pradesh.
Addressing roadside meetings in Karimnagar district on the second day of his 'yatra' (tour) in the region, he promised to respect the sentiments of the people of Telangana on the issue of separate statehood.
"I know people here want separate Telangana. If you think this will bring rapid development, I am with you," he said amid cheers from crowds in Jagtiyal town.
The actor, however, put the ball in the central government's court by saying it would have to take a decision on the issue. He asked people to mount pressure on the central government to achieve the goal.
"If you want separate Telangana, no force can stop you from achieving this," he said.
Targeting the ruling Congress party, Chiranjeevi said if the central government was sincere, it should honour people's sentiments. "Ask the centre why it has failed to create separate Telangana. If you want your voice to be heard in Delhi, elect public representatives who support the demand," he said.
The Congress is the only major party which is yet to forthrightly support separate Telangana. Pressure is mounting on the party to make its stand clear before the next year's elections.
The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which was against bifurcation of the existing Andhra Pradesh, recently declared that it favoured separate Telanagna.
Chiranjeevi, who formed the PRP in August, is on eight-day tour of the Telangana region as part of the second phase of his state-wide 'yatra'.
He, however, criticised parties which were raising the Telangana slogan whenever it suited their interests, and asked people to be cautious of such parties. Without naming any party, he said some parties were exploiting the issue for political gains and cheating the people.
The demand for separate statehood to Telangana region, comprising 10 districts including Hyderabad, goes back to over four decades.