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What’s Pawan up to?

What’s Pawan up to?
Highlights

Pawan Kalyan’s meeting today raises political heat in Andhra Pradesh. Besides being a popular star, Pawan Kalyan was instrumental in hoisting the NDA regime in Andhra Pradesh against the backdrop of State bifurcation.  Joining Modi- Babu bandwagon, he was one of the authors of the 2014 popular mandate in the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh.

Pawan Kalyan’s meeting today raises political heat in Andhra Pradesh. Besides being a popular star, Pawan Kalyan was instrumental in hoisting the NDA regime in Andhra Pradesh against the backdrop of State bifurcation. Joining Modi- Babu bandwagon, he was one of the authors of the 2014 popular mandate in the residuary State of Andhra Pradesh.

However, the Jan Sena was a non-starter in the last two years. Pawan Kalyan describes himself as someone who is always at the forefront in questioning on behalf of people. Yet, he has largely remained silent, barring some occasional theatrics.

Not that there were enough issues for him to raise right noises; but he chose to be a political enigma. His conspicuous silence was obviously baffling – even disgusting for those who experienced the aborted political experiment in the form of Praja Rajyam of which Pawan Kalyan too was a patron.

The film star-turned-politician initially raised his voice over the controversial land pooling. But, he soon went into oblivion. Instead of defending the rights of farmers and agricultural labourers, who feel coerced to alienate their lands, Pawan Kalyan ended up as someone who intervened to manufacture consent in favour of the land pooling.

More strikingly, Pawan Kalyan, despite his proximity to the BJP all-India leadership, chose to remain more or less lukewarm on the vexed issue of the Special Status for Andhra Pradesh. His ambivalence and prevarication inflicted serious damage on his popular and political image.

His political ammunition was seriously undermined. Clouds of confusion loomed large over his political journey. Notwithstanding his brother Chiranjeevi’s ignominious retreat, Pawan enjoyed credibility among people. His partnership with Modi-Babu winning combine enhanced his personal and political prestige. But, long spells of silence and ridiculous display of self-styled politics raised ominous questions on the Jana Sena experiment.

Despite such intriguing questions surrounding his political career, Pawn Kalyan’s image of a crusader remains unblemished among his large fan following. Thus, his today’s meeting stirs hope and anxiety. Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam was a Trojan horse during the 2009 elections.

Many still believe that this half-baked experiment only served the purpose of fragmenting the anti-incumbency vote, much to the discomfiture of TDP, the then principal opposition party. The opposition fears that Pawan’s Jan Sena may end up, dividing the anti-establishment vote, thus serving the interests of the ruling combine. It’s too early, though, either to confirm or contradict this analysis.

The distance between the TDP and the BJP seems to be widening at least for the public consumption. Both the parties do not deny a possible divorce. Given this possibility, Pawan’s latest nuances assume political significance. He is closer to Modi than Babu. Will the BJP prefer to upset the apple cart, using Pawan Kalyan?

It’s difficult for Pawan to accept this role, given that the people want him to fight on their behalf on a host of issues, especially the Special Status. Many questions remain. It’s, of course, Pawan’s style. But, people want a steadfast leader rather than a stylish star.

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