There is, as yet a hazy, nevertheless an emerging contour of a new star power vying for the leadership of the Congress: actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.It’s not his outbursts against the Congress for not ‘integrating’ his party PRP with the Congress that gives the idea to political observers.
It’s his statement that the Congress won two seats where the PRP was strong and his stance that the party was rudderless in the State that sends out a strong signals of bigger things in his mind. His Friday’s famous speech at Ramachandrapuram where the former PRP leader Thota Trimurulu won on Congress ticket, gives goose bumps to the current leaders especially Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, sources point out.
Chiranjeevi has been under pressure to explain how his charisma failed to win some seats especially Tirupati constituency which the central leader Vayalar Ravi had requested him to win at any cost. The emperor of the dreamland was bitten to the core at the loss of Tirupati which he did not hide. He spewed venom on Congress leaders for the loss. He pointed an accusing finger at minister Galla Aruna whose son Jaya Deva had sought the Tirupati ticket but Chiranjeevi recommended Venkata Ramana. “Venkata sobbed after the loss and said the Congress leaders had stabbed him in the back.”
From the Congress camp TG Venkatesh and J Shanker see nothing wrong in the erstwhile PRP leader’s complaint against the Congress. But many Congress leaders who are also ministers are rattled. “It’s for the PRP to get integrated. Do we have to hold their hands?” asked one minister in anguish.
But Chiru’s apparent proximity with Sonia Gandhi and his bravado at Ramachandrapuram that he will show how to lead the party and win seats have spread the whispers that the leader, seemingly regretting the hasty merger, wants his pound of flesh. Chiru is sure that with the present leadership and the way the party is run, Congress may not even be runner-up in the 2014 general elections.
“He is surely angling for the mantle of Congress leadership,” a minister remarked. According to general feeling, Delhi is desperately searching for a party leader who has the qualifications of combining caste factors and also exude charisma like YSR did. “Chiru fits in” is the spreading belief. But his detractors too are many who believe that the hero will prove a ‘ box-office flop’ if he wears the mantle of the State leadership with a pledge to bag majority seats in 2014.
About the Author (Author Profile)
PK Surendran is senior editor at Postnoon.