Telugu film star and Jana Sena founder Pawan Kalyan gave a breather to political parties in Andhra Pradesh by announcing that his newly-launched party would not field candidates in the ensuing elections to Lok Sabha and the state Assembly.
“I don’t want to let a split in votes,” Kalyan announced last night, implying that he did not want a repeat of 2009 when the emergence of Praja Rajyam, floated by his eldest brother and now Union Minister K Chiranjeevi, helped Congress to retain power by splitting the anti-establishment votes.
“Vote as per your choice,” Kalyan exhorted his fans and supporters, saying he did not want to impose his choice on them.
With the TDP-BJP electoral alliance almost looking certain, whatever support Jana Sena could muster is expected to translate into votes for the combine, particularly in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
“I welcome Kalyan’s statement that he did not want the anti-Congress votes to split. It’s also good that he gave a call to vote for those who will develop Seemaandhra region and build a better capital,” Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu remarked here today.
Chandrababu was the first to invite Kalyan, even before the latter launched Jana Sena, to join hands with the TDP for building a “Swarnaandhra Pradesh”, a golden AP.
Interestingly, Kalyan was highly critical of YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. Without naming Jagan, Kalyan lashed out that those “who looted thousands of crores of rupees are roaming freely” while common people were left suffering.
The film star, who enjoys a massive fan following across the state, appealed to voters to trounce such “looters’ to ensure that the fruits of development reached the needy.
However, Jana Sena’s influence will be on test in Telangana as Kalyan is “perceived” to be pro-Seemaandhra.