Chiranjeevi’s advice to Andhra CM triggers uproar, Roja hits back

Popular in Tollywood as ‘Power Star’, Pawan Kalyan has revived his alliance with the BJP and is currently working to forge an alliance with the TDP to take on the YSRCP in next year’s elections.

Amaravati: Tollywood megastar Chiranjeevi’s advice to the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led Andhra Pradesh government to focus on development rather targeting the film industry has triggered an uproar, evoking sharp reaction from the ruling YSRCP with former actress and state minister R.K. Roja slamming him on Wednesday.

Chiranjeevi’s remark questioning the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) government for targeting ‘small bird’ has irked the ruling party leaders, who have now launched an all out attack on him.

Speaking at an event organised to mark 200 days of his movie ‘Waltair Veerayya’ on Tuesday, Chiranjeevi had asked why the government was talking about remuneration of actors.

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“Why are you targeting a sparrow? Why should the government talk about remuneration of actors? You should concentrate on special category status, projects, jobs, employment opportunities and schemes that would fill the belly of the poor,” he had said.

Chiranjeevi’s remarks came amid the ongoing row over his younger brother and Jana Sena Party (JSP) leader Pawan Kalyan’s recent movie ‘Bro’.

State Water Resources Minister Ambati Rambabu had levelled allegations that Pawan Kalyan’s remuneration for the movie was not being revealed for tax evasion. He had also alleged that the filmmaker received funds from abroad through illegal channels.

Rambabu had made the allegations while hitting out at Pawan Kalyan and the film producer for allegedly belittling him through the character of Shyambabu in ‘Bro’.

Chiranjeevi’s advice to the government also came amid the continuing row over ticket pricing issue.

The Jagan Mohan Reddy government is allegedly targeting movies of big stars like his political rival Pawan Kalyan by not allowing the industry players to fix higher ticket prices.

Soon after Chiranjeevi’s comments, several YSRCP leaders hit back at him. Ruling party MLA and former minister Kodali Nani commented that some ‘pakodi gallu’ (silly fellows) were giving advice to the government.

Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana also asked Chiranjeevi if he was admitting that the film industry is a small bird.

Meanwhile, Chiranjeevi’s fans on Wednesday staged a protest in Gudivada, Nani’s constituency, to condemn his remark. They tried to take out a rally and raised slogans against the MLA, demanding Nani to apologise to the actor.

Tension prevailed when the police tried to stop Chiranjeevi’s fans from taking out the rally. Both sides had a heated argument, leading to a scuffle. The fans later staged protest on the road.

Tourism minister Roja, who was a leading actress till 2002, also lashed out at Chiranjeevi on Wednesday, saying that the state was bifurcated when Chiranjeevi was the Central minister.

“Why didn’t you fight for special category status for the state,” she asked.

Roja also found fault with Chiranjeevi for mixing films with politics. She stated that when a person is working in films, he should confine himself to the industry.

She alleged that Pawan Kalyan is using the film platform to deliberately target the government.

“If Chiranjeevi has any advice, he should give it to his brother,” she said.

Roja also alleged that Chiranjeevi had merged his party with the Congress to reap personal benefits.

It may be recalled that Chiranjeevi had entered politics in 2009 by floating Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) a few months before the elections in undivided Andhra Pradesh. However, his party could win just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly.

He later merged PRP with the Congress. In 2012, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha and was made Union Minister of State (independent charge) in the then Congress-led UPA government at the Centre.

After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Chiranjeevi became inactive in politics and made a comeback to films.

While ruling out his return to politics, last year he had declared support to his younger brother Pawan Kalyan.

Chiranjeevi had also stated that Andhra Pradesh needs a leader like Pawan Kalyan and hoped that the people will give him an opportunity in future.

“Since childhood, I have known him for his honesty and commitment. This did not get polluted anywhere. We need such a leader,” the megastar had said.

In the 2014 elections, Chiranjeevi had led Congress’ campaign in Andhra Pradesh while Pawan Kalyan campaigned for the TDP-BJP combine, but did not contest elections.

In 2019, JSP contested the elections in alliance with the BSP and the Left parties. However, Pawan Kalyan’s party could win a single seat in the 175-member Assembly and he himself was defeated from both the seats he contested.

Popular in Tollywood as ‘Power Star’, Pawan Kalyan has revived his alliance with the BJP and is currently working to forge an alliance with the TDP to take on the YSRCP in next year’s elections.

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