Hyderabad : Political parties in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday reacted guardedly to Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi's grand entry into politics, saying the actor was yet to clearly spell out the policies and programmes on his new party Praja Rajyam (People's Rule).

While the ruling Congress put up a brave front saying its welfare schemes and innovative development programmes would stand the party in good stead, the main opposition Telugu Desam Party said the filmstar had nothing new to offer.

"His (Chirajeevi's) maiden political speech (at the temple town of Tirupati on Tuesday) was virtually silent on key issues facing the state. It was only a piece of cinematic rhetoric," state ministers K Lakshminarayana, N Raghuveera Reddy and T Jeevan Reddy said.
They said the filmstar spoke in general terms about the problems of various sections but failed to explain how he would go about solving them.

"There was no clarity on important issues like Telangana, categorisation of Scheduled Castes and Naxalism. He also did not spell out his party's policies and programmes," the ministers told reporters.

After months of speculation, Chiranjeevi, a popular hero who acted in 148 films in a three decade-long career, launched his party before a mammoth gathering at Tirupati on Tuesday in an event that evoked memories of matinee idol late N T Rama Rao taking the political plunge at the same venue over 25 years ago.

While asserting that his party would strive for social justice and welfare of the weaker sections and farmers, Chiranjeevi skirted thorny issues like Telangana saying a collective decision would be taken on all sensitive matters after a wider debate.

"What is the new thing that he has said?" wondered TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
"In democracy, anyone can join politics and launch a party. Ultimately, the people will decide based on your policies and programmes. The TDP is always with the people, tyring to understand and solve their problems," Naidu, whose party has suffered desertions in recent times, said.

The TDP Deputy Floor leader in the Assembly N Janardhan Reddy said Chiranjeevi was yet to unveil details of his political agenda.

Acknowledging that Chiranjeevi would certainly make an impact on the state politice scene, CPI (M) Secretary B V Raghavulu said his party would consider joining hands with Praja Rajyam only if it came up with a clear policy statement on key issues.

"He has not stated his party's stand on issues like federalism, Indo-US nuclear deal, communal politics and the need for forging a third alternative," Raghavulu said.

Though Chiranjeevi, in his maiden public meeting, appeared flexible on the issue of Telangana, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which is the forefront of statehood cause, said the actor should spell out his stand clearly.

"The people of Telangana will accept only if he unequivocally supports the demand for separate state. We will formulate our position only after he makes his stand clear," TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao.

However, the BJP, which also supports Telangana demand, welcomed Chiranjeevi's "favourable disposition" towards the statehood cause.

"We appreciate his (Chiranjeevi's) comments on Telangana sentiment and the discrimination that the region has been suffering in all sectors. But we want him to make his stand clear on the demand for carving out separate Telangana state," senior BJP leader Ch Vidyasagar Rao told reporters here.
The actor had said
that his party respects Telangana sentiment and would "cooperate and assist" in the process of formation of new state if such a situation becomes inevitable.

No other political event in recent times had evoked so much enthusiasm as the megastar's maiden public rally. His entry into politics, with change and social justice as the main planks, is expected to have significant impact on the next year's Assembly elections.

Even before his political foray, desertions have started from the main political parties.
Soon after the actor's announcement of political entry on August 17, senior Congress MP from Narsapur resigned from the party to join Chiranjeevi's party.

Several frontline TDP leaders, including Rajya Sabha member C Ramachandraiah, former minister K Vidyadhar Rao and former MP B Nagi Reddy and his wife Shobha quit the party and joined Chiranjeevi's party.