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Tuesday, Dec 06, 2022

Chiranjeevi, Pawan Kalyan alliance in the offing? ‘Godfather’ event sets political tongues wagging

A former Union minister, Chiranjeevi is still a Congress member, though not active. His younger brother K Pawan Kalyan, the founder-president of Jana Sena Party, has been touring Rayalaseema and has expressed his desire to contest from Anantapur in Assembly polls

A former Union minister, Chiranjeevi is still a Congress member, although he has distanced himself from active politics for several years. (Express Archive)

Telugu film ‘megastar’ K Chiranjeevi’s upcoming movie “Godfather’s” pre-release event, held on Wednesday evening at Anantapur in the Rayalaseema region, has set tongues wagging in political circles in both Telugu states, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

The pre-release events of Telugu films starring even actors of lesser stature are usually held at Hyderabad in Telangana or at Vijayawada or Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. Chiranjeevi’s decision to pick Anantapur for his “much awaited” film’s event has left many wondering if he was trying to send out a political signal.

A former Union minister, Chiranjeevi is still a Congress member, although he has distanced himself from active politics for several years, refraining from participating in any party events. His younger brother K Pawan Kalyan, popularly known as a “power star” in Teulgu films, is the founder-president of the Jana Sena Party (JSP). Pawan Kalyan has been touring Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema region in recent months and has even expressed his desire to contest from Anantapur in the 2024 state Assembly elections.

What has set off speculation about Chiranjeevi returning to active politics is a message he had recently sent to his supporters, saying “I want to be away from politics but politics is not going away from me.”

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It was then believed that Chiranjeevi was commenting about various political factions in the Movie Artists Association (MAA), the Tollywood film stars and artistes association, where polls are held annually for top posts. However, the connection between Pawan Kalyan’s bid to zero in on Anantapur and Chiranjeevi’s subsequent move to hold “Godfather’s” pre-release event there has sparked buzz about the possibility of their political tie-up.

Meanwhile, following Chiranjeevi’s remarks that he wanted to be away from politics, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) hurriedly issued an identity card Tuesday making him a delegate till 2027 from the Andhra Congress for the party presidential poll scheduled for October 18.

Pawan Kalyan has been undertaking the “Rythu Paramarsha yatra” for the last several months to meet dent-ridden farmers or the families of farmers or tenant farmers who died by suicide. So far, he has toured all eight districts in the Rayalaseema region including Anantapur, YSR Kadapa, Annamayya, Chittoor, Kurnool, Nandyal, Sri Satya Sai, and Tirupati.

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The actor-politician has said that hundreds of farmers and tenant farmers died by suicide across Andhra Pradesh due to debts and crop failures in the last few years. He has given Rs one lakh each to these families.  The JSP leaders have said they have covered over 660 such distressed families so far.

The JSP chief had said at Kurnool on May 9 that the Andhra Opposition parties should form a joint alliance against the ruling Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in order to ensure that the anti-government vote is not split in the 2024 state Assembly polls, or else the YSRCP will return to power, which, he added, will push the state into darkness.

Some political experts say that Kalyan’s Rayalaseema focus and the Chiranjeevi film’s pre-release event at Anantapur was not a “mere coincidence”. “I think elder brother Chiranjeevi is out to help younger one. A film starring Chiranjeevi always attracts huge crowds. In this scenario, the place where the pre-release event is held holds significance. It is possible that Chiranjeevi is trying to give support to his brother-actor Pawan Kalyan who is keen on contesting from Rayalaseema region, especially Anantapur where Pawan Kalyan has expressed his desire to contest from,’’ an observer said.

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A remake of Malayalam film “Lucifer”, “Godfather” is a political thriller written and directed by Mohan Raja. Bollywood star Salman Khan, who makes an appearance in Chiranjeevi’s film, was present at the Anantapur event. It is one of the biggest films to be released this year and not only Chiranjeevi’s fans but fan clubs and unions and associations dedicated to supporting the star have been going all out to publicise the movie.

Chiranjeevi had founded the Praja Rajyam Party that eventually folded up. In the 2008 undivided Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, Chiranjeevi’s party won 18 of the total 294 seats. He won from Tirupati but lost from Palacole in West Godavari, his home district.

Pawan Kalyan, who floated the JSP in 2014, himself lost from Gajuwaka and Bhimvaram in the 2019 Andhra Assembly polls, although his party won one seat. In the 2014 Assembly elections, he had campaigned for the then TDP-BJP alliance, which might have provided an edge to the TDP that had won then by a slender margin.

First published on: 30-09-2022 at 12:01:54 pm
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