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Pawan factor makes Andhra enigmatic....


Chiranjeevi’s brother and the Telugu star forayed into Andhra Pradesh’s political arena launching his Jana Sena with a lot of melodrama, lights and action. Naresh Nunna tracks the changing political equations
NARESH NUNNA | Issue Dated: April 13, 2014, New Delhi
Tags : Pawan Kalyan | Hyderabad International Convention Centre | Telangana | Prakasa Rao |

Halfway through this tumultuous period of polling, the mind of the Andhra Pradesh voter in the post-bifurcation phase is highly unpredictable. Union minister Chiranjeevi’s brother and Telugu movie star Pawan Kalyan’s ‘impulsive’ launch of ‘Jana Sena’ party is adding complexity to the prevailing confusion.

In an unprecedented style, Pawan Kalyan announced the launch of his party in a meeting arranged in Hyderabad International Convention Centre (HICC), which is part of the star hotel, Novotel. The venue is much sought after destiny for the film producers to carry out pompous shows of audio launches and other film functions. All the 6000 invites, including media, carried a barcode that facilitated the seats in the convention hall. The two hour speech of the actor, which sent the TRP ratings soaring through the roof, was telecast by all news channels of Andhra Pradesh and was also telecast to the giant LCD screens at 50 venues in the State, from the Novotel expo facility. While highlighting Kalyan’s speech, the news channels vied among one another for an increase in TRP ratings.

Kalyan was also successful in building tempo before the launch of party and thus, the whole affair was dubbed to be a typical audio or teaser release function, which usually lacks solemnity.

However, almost turning the ‘opinion polls’ closer to subtle campaigning in favour of their ‘clients’, some reputed media houses are found to influencing and wavering the minds of voters, contributing their lot in distorting the level playing fields of democracy.

“Since the entry of Pawan Kalyan is a jolt to the State politics, the biased media is chorusing with his detractors to term his party Jana Sena - ‘impromptu’, and accusing the party of ‘structural infirmity’. Actually, Kalyan is known for his iconoclastic style and dons the same in politics of Andhra Pradesh,” tells political analyst Vijay Kumar Pallela to The Sunday Indian.

Bringing parallels with ‘I’m mad as hell’ speech by Peter Finch in the 1976 movie- Network, news presenter and also senior journalist with pro-Telangana stance, Sreedharbabu Pasunuru said: “He is out of work or scared of losing his ‘place’. His punch-dialogues buy a nickel's worth; his histrionics are going bust. His play is unfit to watch and his words are inept to eat. He has gone mad – worse than mad – he is crazy”.

In fact, Kalyan did not oppose Telangana, rather welcomed it. However, in his speech, he repeatedly opposed the way in which the State was bifurcated by vote-bank policies of Congress and he made scathing attack on K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and his kith and kin. Ironically, he saluted the ‘unfazed commitment’ of the leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), founded by KCR. He said in his speech, during the launch of the party, “Congress high command should have not delayed the process of separate Telangana, as the issue has been burning for decades. If it had been proactive in bifurcating the State, at least in the present phase, suicides of hundreds of youth of Telangana would have been thwarted.”  Simultaneously, Kalyan was also successful in representing the disgruntled hearts of Seemandhra people, who are deeply hurt for being left in lurch. 

The film star was largely criticized for his ‘off the cuff’ remarks on many issues and for lack of agenda to his new party. Nevertheless, Kalyan won widespread applause only for venting the anguish of a ‘common man’. “In elections, the ire of this group of common men turns the tables. This group consists roughly 10-15 per cent of vote-bank and it emerges be the deciding factor. That’s the reason why the parties are scared of Pawan Kalyan’s surge, how unorganized and impetuous it might be,” another senior analyst Prakasa Rao told TSI. 

Pawan Kalyan was strategic enough and accordingly, the one-man show of Jana Sena during launch has given rise to the “Angry electorate,” the shorthand for the political mood. Triggered by his hidden agenda, concerns about the emotions of the ‘common man’ shaped the entire climate.

There is unhappiness in Seemandhra against the means of bifurcation. Though Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSR Congress party (YSRCP) was elevated as champion for the cause of Samaikyandhra (united State), there is a section of people who could understand the ‘match-fixing’ between Congress and YSRCP.

Similarly, there is frustration on the other side – in Telangana. There is also certain percentage of people, who understood that the new State was bestowed upon them not for the fight and sacrifice they did for the cause, but only for the vested interests of the Congress party. They also understood the TRS party, which is insufficiently committed to Telangana development that the majority believed would become reality under KCR.


Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, former chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha share many things in common. But particularly that the three leaders are alumni of Hyderabad Public School, a school for the children of elite. The three leaders are sons of ministers of Congress party – Jagan being the son of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, late Chief Minister of AP, who was killed in 2009 in a chopper mishap; Kiran and Damodar are also from the families of Congress ministers, Amarnath Reddy and Rajanarasimha respectively.

Three leaders are equally focussed with self-containment. Jagan is the luckiest among three, as his meteoric rise in wealth and popularity was bestowed by his father – YSR, a charismatic leader of masses.

“But for late YSR, no one stays in Jagan’s camp, as he (Jagan) is self-centered and has nothing to do with common people and also with colleagues of the party,” a senior YSR CP leader, who joined YSRCP for the sake of political career of his budding grandson, said.

Some analysts mention that Jagain being a doubting Thomas, he could demotivate his own cadre with his skepticism.

“Since NDTV is business partner of Jagan’s media house, its survey obviously boosts Jagan’s YSRCP’s poll prospects. YSRCP can not sweep Seemandhra region, as it would get hardly 60 Assembly seats,” Psephologist Vavilala R Deekshitulu told TSI.

Kiran Reddy has a disadvantage of remaining unknown beyond his constituency in Chittor district of Rayalaseema region. His political party – Jai Samaikyandhra, which was launched in coastal Andhra, a couple of days before Pawan launched Jana Sena – gained no momentum.

Same is the case with Damodar Rajanarasimha who has now begin given the reins of campaigning in Telangana as chairman of Congress Election Campaign Committee for Telangana. Chiranjeevi was appointed as his counterpart for Seemandhra campaign. 

Now, the three musketeers, who aspire coveted posts in their regions, have to face a common rival – Jana Sena of Pawan Kalyan, who strategically met BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in latter’s office in Ahmadabad to extend his support. A proposed grand alliance of TDP- BJP- Jana Sena and Lok Satta (of Jayaprakash Narayan, former IAS officer) may shatter the dreams of HPS alumni.

“This minority group of angry electorate identifies itself with Pawan Kalyan and obviously will go by his clarion call – Congress ko hatao Desh ko bachao. The unexpected move by Kalyan indicates surprising alterations in the attitudes of electorate; but the contenders find no time to learn from and act upon, as the elections to Lok Sabha and the state Assembly are round the corner,” a TRS leader said. The TRS leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, worked earlier with Kalyan, when the hero was the young wing chief of his brother Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam party (PRP), which was later merged with the Congress party.


Though Chiranjeevi (Chiru) preceded him with a failure attempt of launching PRP in 2008, Kalyan got thumping response all around. “Politics to Chiranjeevi are, more or less, a shift in career; whereas to Pawan Kalyan, it is giving up the lucrative career. People understood that Chiru sans fundamental qualities of leadership, was spoon-fed about the society existed outside the silver screen. But, his younger brother is well-versed with the social, political happenings around him. Thus, expectations soar high on the definite difference he will make with his Jana Sena party vis a vis Chiru’s PRP,” a former MLA of PRP, who shifted loyalties to Jagan’s YSRCP said. 

With Pawan Kalyan’s blitzkrieg, former CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s lackadaisical ‘Jai Samaikyandhra’ party, AP politics has become a quintessential Tollywood potboiler, having all the desired ingredients of humour, melodrama, passion and poignancy.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017