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Chiranjeevi set for political debut

india Updated: Aug 25, 2008 12:44 IST

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Telugu star Chiranjeevi is set to announce the name and policies of his new political party in this temple town in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday at a rally expected to be attended by a million people.

The actor, who announced his entry into politics August 17, will declare the agenda of his 'pro-poor' party, which may alter the political equations in the southern state ahead of the March 2009 assembly elections.

It will be a one-man show at Avilal Cheruvu or Avilala lake bed ground. Chiranjeevi alone will occupy the dais during the massive show of strength planned in true filmi style. Congress MP Hariram Jogaiah, who has joined Chianjeevi's party, said the actor would be the only speaker.

Jogaiah and also leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who have joined the actor's party in the past one week, besides Chiranjeevi's brother-in-law and chief advisor Allu Arvind, brothers and actors Naga Babu and Pawan Kalyan will sit among the audience.

The decks were cleared for the meet Aug 21 when the Supreme Court refused to stop the event on a petition by a local NGO, which argued that the event on lake bed would harm the environment.

As many as 23 special trains, hundreds of private and state-owned buses will ferry Chiranjeevi fans from different parts of the state. A majority of the people are expected from coastal Andhra, the actor's home region.

As many as 5,000 Telugu NRIs from different countries, mainly the US, are expected to attend the meet. A group of NRIs are already touring parts of the state to mobilise public support for the actor.

Chiranjeevi, who turned 53 on Friday, choose August 26, the birth anniversary of Mother Teresa, to launch his political party.

At his first news conference, the actor said he was inspired by Mother Teresa and declared that he too was dedicating his life to serve the poor.

After a 30-year career in films, Chiru, as the actor is popularly known, donned a new role like matinee idol NT Rama Rao, who changed the course of Andhra politics by coming to power within nine months of launching TDP in 1982.

Chiru, one of the highest paid actors in India and whose fan following is compared to NTR's, is engaged in social services like running blood and eye camps. In another gesture, he enrolled a physically challenged youth as the first member of the party.

Elaborate arrangements have been made for the meeting, which will begin after Chiranjeevi pays obeisance at the Lord Venkateshwara temple on Tirumala Hills. The three-hour meeting is set to begin at 4 pm.

Adding filmi touch to the mega event, the organisers have hired two helicopters. A chopper will shower flower petals on the venue, while another will record the event, beaming it across 70 huge LCD screens deployed around the area.

Over 3,000 policemen have been deployed at the venue besides an equal number of volunteers of the Chiru Rashtra Yuvatha (youth wing).

In his speech, Chiru is expected to explain the reasons for taking a plunge into politics, his mission and goals, and announce the policies and programmes of the party.

After the public meeting, Chiru will form core committee of the party and launch state-wide tour to mobilise public support for the party.