The launch of freedom fighter Alluri Sitarama Raju’s 125th birth anniversary year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Bhimavaram in West Godavari district on Monday witnessed an unusual incident.
Apart from Modi, governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan and chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the star attraction on the dais was megastar Chiranjeevi. He was specially invited to the event as the former Union tourism minister and a popular who hailed from the same area.
Chiranjeevi was seated adjacent to Modi. On seeing the megastar, the Prime Minister was overwhelmed.
He held Chiranjeevi on shoulders, laughed, cracked some jokes and patted on the back. The megastar was humbled and bowed with folded hands. He chatted with Modi for some time.
The chief minister, too, was very pleased with Chiranjeevi. He hugged the megastar and both of them spoke to each other so fondly as if they are very close friends. In his speech, Jagan described Chiranjeevi as his big brother, as crowds erupted in applause.
Obviously, Chiranjeevi was a cynosure of all eyes. What is surprising is that power star Pawan Kalyan did not get any personal invitation from the Centre for the event, despite the fact that he was a political ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party and had contested the last assembly elections from Bhimavaram. During 2014 elections, it was Pawan Kalyan who shared the dais with Modi.
Inquiries revealed that Union minister G Kishan Reddy extended invitation to Jana Sena Party as a recognised party, but not Pawan Kalyan as an individual. This has upset the power star, who stayed away from the function.
The way the Centre invited Chiranjeevi to the function and ignored Pawan Kalyan led to the talk that the BJP might be trying to woo the megastar following reports that the power star is tilting towards the TDP.
The way Modi moved so closely with Chiranjeevi, who was once a bitter critic of the BJP also lends credence to this talk.