Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan had spoken about the options before him. First option is to continue with the present alliance with the BJP. The second one is to draw TDP into the alliance going back to the arrangement in 2014. The third option is to go it alone. Which option is better for Pawan Kalyan?
Jana Sena is a party which is in a peculiar situation in Andhra Pradesh. It’s founder is more a film personality than a political leader even eight years after launching Jana Sena. He takes a couple of days off from his busy shooting schedule now and then, makes an appearance, says something dramatic about electoral pacts, attacks the ruling party in a routine manner and goes back to shooting. He has young fans who are emotional and energetic. The fan base of his elder brother Chirajeevi, the mega star, who launched his own party before 2009 elections and folded it up soon after the polls, is also being co-opted by Nadendla Manohar, Chairman of Jana Sena’s Political Affairs Committee and former Speaker of Assembly in undivided Andhra Pradesh. Though time is rolling by, nothing concrete is emerging on Jana Sena front.
Also read: Will Jana Sena say bye bye to BJP?
BJP takes Pawan for granted
Pawan Kalyan goes to Delhi occasionally to meet Amit Shah, Union Home Minister, JP Nadda, the BJP national president and some other BJP’s national leaders. But the BJP leadership does not care to consult him on crucial occasions such as by-elections to Tirupati Lok Sabha seat or Atmakuru Assembly seat. He appears to be taken for granted.
Wants to become CM
Pawan Kalyan seems to have an ambition to become chief minister. He said recently that his party had sacrificed in 2014 and 2019 and now it is the turn of other parties (meaning Telugu Desam Party) to reciprocate. Though every politician would like to be a chief minister or a prime minister if possible, the ambition should be reasonable and sound convincing to the people.
Also read: Does Chiranjeevi support Jana Sena?
Here is a part-time politician who cannot give up films, who got less than ten percent of votes in 2019 and lost the two Assembly seats he contested now demanding the TDP to give up the captaincy in his favour. TDP, on the other hand has a full-time politician in Chandrababu Naidu, who does not do anything other than politics, the TDP was polled nearly 40 per cent of the votes in 2019 elections and a serious contender to power. It had recently organized Mahanadu, on May 28, which was acknowledged to be a big and successful show. Pawan Kalyan has been a junior partner of Chandrababu Naidu. One cannot expect Naidu to give up his claim on the post of chief minister and nominate the actor, instead. Even the BJP, which has little presence in Andhra Pradesh, publicly refused to declare Pawan Kalyan as chief ministerial candidate saying that the saffron party never nominated any leader other than a BJP leader for the post of chief minister anywhere in the country. It is very clear by now that Pawan Kalyan is not going to be made a CM either by the BJP or the TDP should such an opportunity arise.
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Nothing wrong in having ambition
Pawan Kalyan is not wrong in nursing an ambition to occupy the top position in Andhra Pradesh politics. But he should know that he cannot eat bread and have it too. He cannot ride on two horses. He cannot act in films as well as win in politics. Any of the first two political options at this rate would leave him as ‘also ran.’ None of the two options will make him chief minister. The first two options will not help him even to project himself as a CM candidate. In either of the options, it will be TDP that will rightfully dominate the show and stake its claim.
How can Pawan Kalyan become CM?
Then how can Pawan Kalyan become chief minister. The only option is the third one of going it along. But that should be supplemented by foresight, hard work, sacrifice on the part of the power star. Perception is most important in politics. People in a State would vote for a party headed by a chief minister candidate and in country for a prime ministerial candidate. If people think that Pawan Kalyan can make a better chief minister than Jagan Mohan Reddy or Chandrababu Naidu, then they will vote for Jana Sena candidates. It is not the candidates that are important although selecting service-minded candidates with good track record would certainly be an added advantage. But it is basically the chief ministerial candidate that is most important in Assembly elections.
People will be forced to go to Naidu for lack of option
People would have seen Jagan Mohan Reddy and his government for five years. They had seen Chandrababu Naidu’s leadership and administrative abilities earlier for fourteen years. They rejected Naidu with 14 years record and favoured Jagan Mohan Reddy with zero administrative experience. If they are disappointed with Jagan Mohan Reddy, for the sake of argument, where should they go? Obviously it is TDP and Chandrababu Naidu. They cannot think of Pawan Kalyan whose party will be allocated less than fifty seats to contest if it is a three-party alliance. A leader whose party contests in fifty constituencies out of 175 would not be thought of as a chief ministerial candidate. If Jana Sena is allotted fifty seats, it may at best win a maximum of 20 seats. A leader of 20 MLAs cannot hope to become chief minister of a State whose Assembly has 175 members. If Jana Sena gets 20, the TDP would get at least 50 seats and the BJP ten to fifteen seats if it is an alliance of three parties. In which case, the TDP chief Naidu will be the obvious choice for the post of chief minister. People of Andhra Pradesh who did not like Jagan Mohan Reddy’s rule would be forced to go to Chandrababu Naidu because of lack of choice.
He has to be bold, make sacrifices
If Pawan Kalyan is keen on becoming chief minister, he has to be bold, practical and make some sacrifices. He should have self-confidence that he would become the chief minister if he projected himself as one. Pawan has to tell the people that he would fight the elections alone, would contest for all the 175 seats and win majority of them. He should declare his manifesto, talk about the issues and explain to the people how he is going to improve their lives and how he will be solving the problems staring at them. The power star should bid good bye to the films immediately. He should undertake a walkathon covering all parts of the State. He should believe in himself first of all before making the people to trust him. If he devotes all his time and energies from July first till the elections whenever they are held, he could try his luck.
Not an impossible task
It is not an impossible task. There is no reason why the people of Andhra Pradesh should not vote for his party. He has no charges of corruption or nepotism against him. He is a clean slate. Personalities like Che Guevara had inspired him. A reasonably good speaker, he puts across his views very clearly. His community, Kapu, would like to support him provided he declares that his ambition is to become chief minister and serve the people. Pawan Kalyan is reportedly thinking of taking the TDP into the Jana Sena-BJP alliance if possible or get out of the alliance with the BJP and go for electoral tie-up with the TDP. He is doing this because he has no faith in himself. He is not bold enough to contest alone. If he gathers courage and if he believes in himself, the people might go with him.
If you cannot take risk, politics is not your cup of tea
If he lets the opportunity offered by 2024 elections slip away, he will have to wait till 2029 by which time he would be a character actor in films. The charisma would vanish and fan following will disappear. This is the last chance Pawan Kalyan can grab and try his luck. Hoping to become a CM while partnering with the TDP is unrealistic. Some election experts can say that if Pawan Kalyan contested alone the anti-YSRCP vote would get split among TDP, Jana Sena and the BJP helping the ruling party. If Pawan Kalyan can convince the people that he would be a better chief minister than Naidu and Jagan, they would not mind giving a chance to him rather than repeating YSRCP or going back to TDP, both known devils. There is no doubt there is a huge risk in Jana Sena going it alone. But it has nothing to lose. Greater the risk, greater would be the reward. If you are afraid of taking a risk, politics is not your cup of tea.