Actor-politician Chiranjeevi would be contesting from Andhra Pradesh's Tirupati assembly seat, his Praja Rajya Party (PRP) announced on Friday while declaring the first list of candidates for the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
Unlike other parties, which declared their lists either in Delhi or Hyderabad, he chose Jaggampet in coastal Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district to announce the candidates for 100 assembly and nine Lok Sabha seats.
Chiru, as he popularly known, declared the list at 9.27 am, the auspicious time set by his astrologers, after prayers and rituals on Telugu New Year's Day Ugadi.
The party's senior leader Hariram Joagaiah announced that Chiranjeevi would contest from the temple town of Tirupati, but it was not clear if he would also contest from two other constituencies in Andhra and Telangana regions like Telugu Desam Party TDP) founder and legendary actor NT Rama Rao.
He had earlier hinted that he might also contest from a constituency in his native West Godavari district in coastal Andhra and a third one in Nalgonda district in Telangana region.
Tirupati, where the famous Lord Venkateshwara temple is located, is considered auspicious by the politicians and NTR had contested from there after launching the TDP in 1982.
Chiranjeevi, 54, who floated the PRP in August last year, will face B Karunakar Reddy of the ruling Congress party and Sankar Reddy of the main opposition TDP.
The Congress' M Venkatramana was elected from this seat in the 2004 elections but this time the party has fielded Karunakar Reddy, a close aide of Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and former chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which runs the affairs of Tirumala temple.
Chiranjeevi declared that his brothers, actors Pavan Kalyan and Naga Babu, would not contest but his brother-in-law and party general secretary Allu Aravind would be a candidate.
He told reporters that the tickets were distributed in line with the party's philosophy of social justice. The list of 100 assembly candidates includes 48 from the backward classes, 13 from Scheduled Castes and 27 candidates from other castes.
He said the party would come out with the second list by Friday evening. He had already announced that the party would field 100 candidates from backward classes for the 294-member state assembly.
Prominent in the first list of nine for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state is former minister T Devender Goud, who will contest from the newly-created Malkangiri constituency.
Goud had quit the TDP last year to float the Nava Telangana Party to fight for separate statehood to Telangana region but recently merged his party with the PRP.
The party has fielded Fatima Begum from the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency, a stronghold of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen.
The other Lok Sabha candidates are M Naga Rao (Adilabad-ST), V Rajender (Karimnagar), Shivakumar Lingayat (Zaheerabad), D T Nayak (Mahabubnagar), Rajmouli (Warangal-SC), M P Simhachalam (Araku-ST) and V Kalyani (Srikakulam).