Political analysts say that the actor-founder of Janasena has done little to build the party beyond having a social media presence.

3 years since inception is Pawan Kalyans Janasena a party without a planFacebook
news Politics Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:02

As the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and opposition YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in Andhra Pradesh try to outdo each other with outreach programmes across the state, there is another political outfit that has for long been conspicuous by its absence. The three year old Janasena Party (JSP), founded by actor-politician Pawan Kalyan, has now announced a membership drive, with Pawan declaring that he will be ‘fully active’ in politics starting October.

JSP was formed by Pawan Kalyan in 2014 - but in the three years since its inception, the party has more or less remained a one-man ship. No big face has come knocking on Pawan’s doors so far, and the party has not been actively involved in electoral politics either. While Pawan Kalyan had in 2014 supported the BJP-TDP combine, and mouthed the ‘Congress Hatao, Desh Bachao’ slogan, he hasn’t really taken a strong stand either way since.

In fact, during the Nandyal bye-election which was held last month, Pawan decided to take a neutral stand: His party neither contested the bye-poll nor did they actively support any of the big parties.

The move did not win him any admirers. In fact, in the political circles, it was termed as a ‘political submission’ to the TDP.

And especially now that both Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP leader Jaganmohan Reddy have given a call to action to their cadre, to expect an early election, political analysts say that Pawan’s wait and watch game is not the best course of action.

 

Senior political analyst Telakapalli Ravi says, "In three years, he hasn't concentrated on party building, except having occasional presence on social media. Although he has taken great effort on several issues like the Uddanam chronic kidney disease, the Aqua Park, and to some extent on capital land pooling. But he lacks the tone of an opposition party, and that may end up helping the TDP.”

Senior journalist TS Sudhir says, “Unless Pawan Kalyan turns himself into a full-time politician, he cannot join the race with Chandrababu and Jagan, who are willing to travel a lot to meet people.”

Will the Janasena chief choose to go it alone in the Assembly elections? Analysts say, it’s too early to predict. “But even if he goes it alone, TDP will be more than happy, since the strong vote bank that Pawan holds in the Kapu community will balance out their numbers game,” says Sudhir.

What Sudhir is referring to is the Janasena chief’s ability to split the vote bank of the YSRCP, thereby giving the TDP an edge.

It is well known fact that despite Pawan Kalyan's distancing himself from Kapu politics, he still holds massive support of the community.

Political observers feel that if Pawan Kalyan contests alone, he will grab a chunk of Kapu voters from both the TDP and the YSRCP. However, if quantified, this is more likely to give the TDP an advantage, as the YSRCP has a larger number of Kapu voters.

Kapus comprise more than 26% of Andhra Pradesh's five crore population. The state is witnessing a movement led by Mudragada Padmanabam, demanding inclusion of Kapu community in the BC list.

So can Pawan Kalyan essay a repeat of history, such as the rise of NTR in the 1980s breaking the dominance of Congress? Not really, says Sudhir. “Back then, there was a huge vacuum in Andhra politics. People were frustrated with the Congress and welcomed NTR. But now, the scenario is quite different.”

Agreeing with Sudhir, Dr G Nagaraju, Sociologist (UoH) observed, "For an upsurge of any political figure and platform, the context is crucial, Pawan still needs to clarify his agenda to set forth in public life. Also, there is no second rung leadership in the party.”

Ravi adds that while many like MGR and NTR have come and gone, sustaining a political base is no cake walk, and it’s not possible unless there is some clarity to their agenda.

And while Pawan Kalyan may have charisma, which is an important factor when it comes to mobilising people, as German Sociologist Max Weber professed, individual charisma has its limitations.

Take his brother Chiranjeevi’s Prajarajyam for instance. Dr Nagaraju says, “Prajarajyam too depended much on charisma, cine-fame, a bit of political consolidation of BCs and Dalits. But it soon expired, and he chose to merge with the Congress in 2011, less than four years after he started.”

"Pawan Kalyan might bag a considerable vote share in the hardcore fan zone and the Kapu belt, but I don't see a great future awaiting for his party, which is still at the stage of making scratches at politics," Dr Nagaraju adds.

 

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