Launched in the year of 2014, amidst anti-congress political environment, with the slogan “Congress hatao- Desh bachao”(Terminate Congress and Save Nation), Jana Sena, a political party led by the prominent Tollywood star Pawan Kalyan, is failing miserably to create a mark or an imprint of its own in the politics of Telugu speaking states. Though it had shown some spark, albeit outside the electoral space, in the initial years of its formation, it soon turned into a nut. By and large, this can be attributed to its immature leadership. Born just a couple of years earlier to Jana Sena, Y.S.Jagan Reddy led YSRCP has been stealing the political show unopposed in Andhra Pradesh. A series of questions would automatically springup in the minds of political watchers of what differentiates the former from the latter. To that matter, what ails Jana Sena in general.
Except for acting as a junior partner or an ally to the political parties like BJP and TDP, Jana Sena has done nothing concrete to gain the confidence of the people of Andhra Pradesh. Seemingly, it has turned into a temporary tent or a recreation hub for the actor-half-turned-politician to express his views on the political issues of the day and to attack the current ruling dispensation. Ever since its inception, Jana Sena has neither created a solid vote bank for itself nor has is become a recognizable force in politics. Yes, it is axiomatic to rely solely on the numbers in elections to judge a political party and its future, but it is important to analyze how able the leadership of a party is to handle and adapt to the dynamic conditions of politics.
Shifting ideological position
Perspicacity, persistence and patience are the essential elements for any politician to be successful. It needs scrupulous planning and an agenda to come into or retain power. Pawan Kalyan, as it seems, lacks political foresight and a coherent plan of action to develop Jana Sena into a powerful entity. On the ideological grounds, it appears that he is quite inconsistent. He has been shifting his positions from left to centrist and then to right and vice versa. His speeches are the reflections of his incompetency. Although, they appear loud and boisterous they are devoid of substance and clarity. The tendency to deliver cinematic dialogues while addressing the hoi polloi not only derails the very essence of his speeches, thereby losing the sanctity of his words but also retains his image as a film star rather than a full-time and dedicated politician. How could one trusts and cast his/her valuable vote to a man who acts cantankerously and disappears from the political scene when he feels so?
Healthy democracy always needs a balancing force (opposition) to point finger at the wrong-doings of the government of the day. Without it, democracy transcends into tyranny. At a time when the major opposition party in Andhra Pradesh, TDP (Telugu Desam Party), is in doldrums due to the catastrophic defeat in the 2019 elections, Jana Sena is missing the boat to project itself as an alternative.
Nothing wrong in caste, but…
It is no wonder to say that Indian politics revolve around caste, class, demographical and religious factors. Going by the demographical numbers in Andhra Pradesh, the young and middle aged people constitute a significant proportion of its population. Compared to old peers, the young lads go beyond the lines of caste and religion while electing the representatives. Pawan Kalyan, being a film star with considerable fan-following, has an opportunity to bring them into his fold. They act as catalysts to challenge the conventional notions or stereotypes in and around the politics. But, he is hitting a self-goal by triggering “caste” bogey. Earlier, the same man had kept himself aloof from the caste and was reluctant to be branded as a leader of the particular community that he belongs to. In democracy, there is nothing wrong, in fact it’s a right, to fight for the cause of groups or communities that are under-represented or marginalized and deprived of fair share of political power, economical and social resources as it provides a competitive space for the contesting groups to articulate their interests and to meet the ends. At the same time, it is not desirable or allowed in a democracy to stimulate tensions between or among the groups in order to gain the political momentum.
Frenzy fans and their utility value
Apart from Pawan Kalyan, his frenzy fans have to take the sizeable chunk of responsibility for the dilapidating state of Jana Sena. They have been making him to live in the state of delusion. It is important to remember the fact that claps, whistles, dialogues and slogans work better in cinema events not in political life. Adroitness of a politician, especially who hails from the cinematic background, depends on how well he could translate his/her fan-base into the loyal voters of party. Ironically, his fans have turned into a liability for him rather than an asset.
Pawan Kalyan has the habit of taking up an issue and junking it mid-way. There is not even a single public issue to his credit that he brought it to a conclusion with flying colours. He is setting a bad example of how a politician should (not) behave for the upcoming aspirants of political life.
No dearth of issues in AP
It is not the dearth of issues in AP that is stopping him from fighting or engaging in the political activity. The right strategy and timely response are the elements that he lacks. The political future of Power Star, as his fans call him, depends upon how well he would compose himself and his cadres. Trust of the people is not an overnight gift. It develops gradually over a period of time. One has to fight for it relentlessly. It is not as easy as delivering a filmy dialogue nor as comfortable as rehearsing a dance step.
He has been falling behind to attract the leaders from other parties who are dissatisfied with their masters. Then what is obstructing them from jumping on the Jana Sena bandwagon? The prime answer, among others, would be lack of confidence on the leadership abilities of Pawan Kalyan. How could one invest his/ her political life into a risky venture like Jana Sena. Except one or two, there are no prominent and familiar leaders on his side. It’s going to be really tough for Jana Sena’s captain, Pawan Kalyan, if he doesn’t change his course.