Keen to bring all opposition parties together to avoid a split in anti-incumbency votes in the next Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, actor-politician Pawan Kalyan appears to be in a dilemma on how to revive the TDP-BJP alliance.
With the BJP’s state leadership opposed to renewing ties with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the clear stand of the Left parties against any understanding with the saffron party, the Jana Sena leader seems to be clueless on how to forge a grand alliance against the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) for the 2024 Assembly polls.
Pawan Kalyan, who presently has an alliance with the BJP, admitted that he is not sure who all will come forward and join hands with him in his initiative to cobble together an alliance.
During his visit to Nandyal district as part of his ‘Rythu Bharosa Yatra’ on Sunday, the Jana Sena leader called for unity among opposition parties to oust the Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government.
Slamming the YSRCP government for its ‘misrule’ and anti-people’ measures, he vowed to work for an alternative in the interest of the state. “Jana Sena will go ahead to work in order to provide an alternative. I don’t know today who will come together in this process,” said the actor in response to a query by the media.
He believes that only the future will tell how the parties will come together in the larger interest of the state to give reassurance to the people.
“At present, we have 100 per cent alliance with BJP,” he remarked while evading an answer about BJP state president Somu Veerraju’s statement that BJP is against an alliance with the TDP.
He was asked why the Jana Sena despite an alliance with the BJP is conducting campaigns on people’s issues unilaterally. He replied that they will soon announce a joint action plan.
When asked about TDP president and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu’s statement that he is ready to make sacrifices for an alliance of the anti-YSRCP parties, Pawan recalled that in 2014 the BJP, Jana Sena and TDP had an alliance. He also remarked that when problems were not solved, the Jana Sena came out of the alliance to question the government on behalf of the people.
He added that some leaders were afraid to speak on YSRCP’s misrule but he is not the one to keep quiet. This is seen as an indirect reference to the BJP leadership’s silence on YSRCP’s misrule. Jana Sena leader said he would bring all the issues to the notice of BJP leaders.
In March while addressing a public meeting to mark the Jana Sena’s ninth formation day, Pawan Kalyan had said that he was waiting for a roadmap from his ally BJP to dethrone the YSRCP.
Some political analysts say Pawan may be preparing ground to distance himself from the BJP as the saffron party’s central leadership seems comfortable with the YSRCP as it is giving them the required support to pass crucial bills in Parliament.
BJP’s state leadership is against reviving their alliance with Naidu, who had snapped ties with them before the 2019 elections and joined with the Congress party. BJP leaders said they were not ready to trust Naidu again, especially after the bitter attack he launched on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other central leaders during previous elections.
Pawan Kalyan had launched Jana Sena before 2014 elections but his party did not contest the polls. He supported TDP-BJP combine and campaigned for its candidates in the company of Narendra Modi and Chandrababu Naidu.
However, Pawan later distanced from BJP, targeting it for going back on its promise to confer special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
Jana Sena contested the 2019 elections in alliance with the CPI, CPI (M) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). However, the alliance had to bite the dust. The actor failed to win either of the two seats he had contested. Jana Sena could win one seat in the 175-member Assembly. It was polled 6.78 percent and lost deposits in as many as 120 assembly seats. It drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections.
However, Jana Sena fared better than BJP, which failed to retain four Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats which it had won in 2014. The saffron party’s vote share was less than one per cent.
YSRCP wrested power from TDP by bagging 151 seats. The TDP was a distant second with 23 seats.