Tirupati: Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi launched his political party Prajarajyam (People’s Rule) at massive rally in the temple town of Tirupati on Tuesday as lakhs of his supporters cheered him on.
"It will be a democratic and secular party. It will be a people's party, born from the hearts of the people. It will be a party for backward classes, farmers, workers, women and youth," he said.
"The party will work for development, modernisation and industrial revolution. Its goal will be 'santosh' and 'ananda' (contentment and happiness) Andhra Pradesh," he told the gathering at the sprawling 120-acre Avilala Tank.
"I know your problems, pains and sufferings and will always stand by you," he said, while taking the oath in the name of Lord Venkateshwara to dedicate his life to serve the people.
"Today, we are sounding the bugle for a major battle against the social ills. There are no leaders in the battle but only servants. I am your servant. We will win this battle. No one can stop us."
Chiranjeevi unveiled the party flag—green and white with the sun in the middle—amidst rapturous applause from the gathering.
Broadly outlining the policies of his eagerly awaited party, he said that eliminating poverty, ensuring social equality, rooting out corruption, development of villages on par with urban areas, and providing health and education to all would top the agenda.
During the two-hour mega show, the 53-year-old actor said he favoured prohibition but added that his party would take a final decision only after detailed deliberations.
"After spending 30 years in the glamorous field, I could have lived a life for myself. I have all the comforts in life but I decided to be in your midst by responding to your appeal.
"I am overwhelmed by your support all these years. Now it is time for me to pay back and be in your midst to share your sufferings," he said.
Chiranjeevi, who announced his decision to join politics on August 17, took a swipe at the ruling Congress for selling government land to industries and for acquiring cultivable land for Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
"We have no rivals. Problems are our rivals. We have no rivals because we have no fear and greed. We have entered the battlefield but our battle is against problems. Courage and honesty are our two weapons. We have no leader. All are soldiers. I am also one among you," he said.
In his speech, he skirted thorny issues like demand for a separate Telangana state, Naxalism and categorisation of Scheduled Castes. "On these sensitive issues, I cannot take an immediate decision. We will take inputs from intellectuals and come to a collective decision," said Chiranjeevi.
Earlier, excited Chiranjeevi's fans went out of control at the site of the public meeting leading police to lathicharge on them. Thousands of people, who had come from all over Andhra Pradesh, swamped into a chamber allotted for physically challenged people.
Repeated appeals by Chiranjeevi's brother and actor Nagendra Babu to maintain calm during the public meeting went unheeded among the jubilant fans.
Excerpts from Chiranjeevi's speech:
I don't know politics. I can't understand it. But I know the suffering of people.