Telugu cinema’s top hero Pawan Kalyan’s entry into politics has charged up the poll scene in Andhra Pradesh for sure, but it has also sparked a debate on contrasting styles between him and elder brother Chiranjeevi, catching the imagination of cine buffs and public alike.
Pawan Kalyan, who launched Jana Sena earlier this month, announced last Thursday that his fledgling party would not contest elections this time as he would not like to split (anti-Congress) votes which, according to some views, means that TDP is likely to reap dividends by his stand.
Kalyan, who gave the slogan “Congress hatao, desh bachao”, has announced “complete support” to Narendra Modi’s prime ministerial bid.
Chiranjeevi, on the other hand, merged his Praja Rajyam Party with Congress in February 2011, thus helping the grand old outfit to save its government in Andhra Pradesh which came under threat on account of Y S Jaganmohan Reddy breaking away and forming YSR Congress and the chorus for separate statehood for Telangana growing shriller.
His party had secured 18 per cent vote share and an equal number of seats in the Assembly elections in 2009.
Though they share a strong personal bond, Kalyan and Chiranjeevi are a study in contrast.
The siblings are in focus now as they have taken completely opposite political stances.
Chiranjeevi is now the head of Congress’ Campaign Committee for Seemandhra, while Kalyan is strongly in favour of Modi becoming Prime Minister, though he has asked his supporters to vote for a party or a candidate they believe in.
As a top leader for Congress in Seemandhra, Chirnajeevi has been defending the party’s decision to divide Andhra Pradesh and attacked opposition TDP and YSR Congress for “taking U-turn” after initially agreeing for the bifurcation.
Kalyan, on the other hand, repeatedly went hammer and tongs at the Congress high command for the “way in which it divided Andhra Pradesh.”
He hailed Modi’s comments that a “mother cannot separate her children like this (dividing Andhra Pradesh).”
Despite his sharp criticism of Congress, Kalyan professed affection and respect for his elder brother, saying Chiranjeevi need not be faulted for what his party had done.
Chiranjeevi went on to become the superstar of Telugu cinema from humble beginnings, in a career spanning over three decades.
Under his protective eyes, his younger brother Nagendra Babu established himself as a popular actor and leading producer, while his youngest sibling Kalyan came to occupy the top slot as Chiranjeevi became the Union Tourism Minister.
Though Chiranjeevi (58), endowed with great acting and dancing skills, enjoyed numero uno position in the film industry, he was not known to have a sharp political acumen, according to some analysts.
Some say that he was, in fact, persuaded to join politics and TDP leaders have often accused him of helping Congress to come to power by splitting anti-incumbency vote in the 2009.
While Chiranjeevi is seen as sober and down-to-earth, Kalyan (42) is fiery and has expressed anger with the corrupt political system in the country. The latter favoured “sampoorna kranti” (total revolution) while addressing his party’s maiden public meeting in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
Chiranjeevi, whose real name is Siva Sankara Varaprasad, is a commerce graduate and did a course in acting in Chennai in late 1970s.
Pawan Kalyan, born Kalyan Kumar, is trained in martial arts and also holds a black belt in Karate.