Wednesday, April 03, 2013
| 8:24:14 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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Planning a comeback to Andhra Pradesh politics, actress-turned-politician Jaya Prada is keen to contest the Lok Sabha election from Rajahmundry, her hometown.
Expelled from the Samajwadi Party in 2010, the independent MP from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh has not yet decided which party she will join.
However, by showering praise on former chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy who died in 2009, she dropped enough hints that she may join the YSR Congress, headed by Reddy's son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, currently in jail in a corruption case.
By criticising N. Chandrababu Naidu for losing credibility among the masses, the 52-year-old ruled out her return to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Jaya Prada may take a final decision to join the YSR Congress only after she gets an assurance from the party that she would be fielded from Rajahmundry.
Informed sources said she may call on Jaganmohan Reddy in jail before taking a final decision.
There was speculation earlier that she would join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won the Rajahmundry seat in 1998 and 1999.
With TDP again planning to field veteran actor M. Murali Mohan, Rajahmundry may witness a war between two stars in the next Lok Sabha election.
Another veteran actor, U.V. Krishnam Raju, who had contested as a Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) candidate, finished third.
Jaya Prada, born April 3, 1962 in Rajahmundry, spent her birthday in the temple town of Tirupati.
She reportedly discussed her political plans with former chairman of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Adikeshavulu Naidu, whose son is a leader of the YSR Congress.
The two-time MP from Rampur rated YSR on par with N.T. Rama Rao, at whose invitation she joined TDP in 1994.
"People are looking for a leader of YSR's stature after his sudden and sad demise," she told reporters.
She also expressed her sympathies for Jaganmohan Reddy and alleged that the Congress was targeting him. She said people were taking cognizance of the hardships he was being subjected to.
She compared this to the problems she faced in the Samajwadi Party. Coming down heavily on SP leader Mulayam Singh Yadav, she accused him of hounding her out of the party.
Once described by Satyajit Ray as one the prettiest woman in the world, Jayaprada began her political career with TDP in 1994 by joining it at the invitation of party founder N.T. Rama Rao.
She backed Chandrababu Naidu when he led a revolt against his father-in-law and became the chief minister in 1995.
Naidu made Jayaprada a member of Rajya Sabha in 1996 and leader of the party's women's wing. Differences cropped up between them when Naidu made another actress, Roja, chief of the women's wing.
She later joined the SP at the invitation of Amar Singh and Mulayam Singh. She was elected to the Lok Sabha from Rampur in 2004 and re-elected in 2009.
However, the party failed to make any impact in Uttar Pradesh and Amar Singh also went into political oblivion because of his illness.
Finding herself at the crossroads, Jayaprada decided to return home for a new innings.
It was at Rajahmundry that she had started her film career at an early age.
She acted in Telugu films in the 1970s and went on to become one the leading ladies of the southern film industry. She entered Hindi films in 1980s, working with actors like Amitabh Bachchan and Jitendra.
During her three-decade film career, Jayaprada acted in 300 films in eight languages including Tamil, Kannada, Marathi and Bengali.
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