Pawan Kalyan finally tastes victory, Jana Sena on a high


by IANS | Wed, Jun 05, 2024, 12:40 PM

Amaravati, June (IANS) Five years after he lost both the Assembly seats he contested, Jana Sena chief and popular actor Pawan Kalyan has finally made it to the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.

He won the Pithapuram seat in the Kakinada district by defeating seasoned politician Vanga Geetha of the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) by a margin of 70,279 votes. Pawan Kalyan polled 1,34,394 votes while Vanga Geetha, a former MP from Kakinada, secured 64,115 votes.

The actor-politician has not only scored his maiden electoral victory but his party has emerged as a formidable force by winning all the 21 Assembly seats and both Lok Sabha seats it contested.

After a decade-long wait, Pawan Kalyan and his party made big electoral gains.

With 21 seats, it emerged as the second largest party in the 175-member Assembly, pushing behind the YSRCP, which was reduced to just 11 seats. It was a big moment for Pawan Kalyan, who had taken the initiative to align with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and later convinced the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to join them in taking on Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP.

The tripartite alliance made a clean sweep by winning 164 Assembly seats. It also bagged 21 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats.

The victory of Pawan Kalyan, the younger brother of megastar Chiranjeevi, brought huge cheers for the family. Chiranjeevi, who had a disastrous political stint, Pawan Kalyan’s other actor brother Naga Babu, Chiranjeevi’s son Ram Charan, nephew Allu Arjun and other family members congratulated Pawan Kalyan.

Pawan Kalyan’s wife Konidala Anna (formerly known as Anna Lezhneva) and son were seen celebrating the victory with him.

Power star, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known, had been campaigning in Pithapuram for more than one-and-a-half months, conducting road shows. His nephew and actor Varun Tej also joined the high-octane campaign by holding a road show.

In a boost to Pawan Kalyan’s campaign, his elder brother Chiranjeevi had appealed to Pithapuram voters to elect Jana Sena leader.

In a video message, Chiranjeevi said that Pawan Kayan entered films under compulsion but willingly entered into politics.

Two days before polling, Ram Charan, his mother Surekha and uncle Allu Arjun also reached Pithapuram to show their support.

Pawan Kalyan recently bought a home in Pithapuram and announced that he would actually reside in the town to be close to the people and work for their development.

After launching the Jana Sena Party in March 2014, the actor supported the BJP-led NDA in the elections held the same year. Angry with the Congress for bifurcating Andhra Pradesh, he campaigned for the TDP-BJP combine and shared the dais with then Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu.

However, later he distanced himself from both the BJP and the TDP for going back on the promise to accord special category status.

He had a disastrous electoral debut in 2019, losing both the Assembly seats he contested. He had contested from Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram from Visakhapatnam and West Godavari districts respectively but lost in both to the YSR Congress candidates.

In 2019, Pawan Kalyan had an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties. However, the Jana Sena could win just one seat in the 175-member Assembly and drew a blank in Lok Sabha polls.

Often criticised by his opponents for being a part-time politician, Pawan Kalyan took his own time to position himself in state politics. After coming under criticism from a section of his own party leaders for agreeing to only 21 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats this time, he had appealed to supporters and party cadres to give him five years, saying he would be in politics for a long time.

Unlike his more popular elder brother Chiranjeevi who wound up his Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) within a couple of years of its launch, Pawan Kalyan is determined to carry on his fight to achieve his goal of new age politics. Aware of his strengths and weaknesses, the 52-year-old was cautious not to repeat his past mistakes and this is the reason he did not bargain hard for seats. He agreed to bring down the number of seats to a realistic level to ensure that the TDP-JSP-BJP alliance materialises to avoid a split of anti-YSRCP votes.

Analysts say Pawan Kalyan displayed maturity in seat-sharing talks to make sure that the alliance takes shape. Seen as a youth icon, he crafted the image of a fighter and he is seen as a crowd-puller. In tune with his screen image of an angry young man, he displayed aggression during the showdown with the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YRSCP government on a few occasions while taking up people’s issues.

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