Jana Sena Party Chief Pawan Kalyan will be contesting two seats in his first ever time in the election fray. In the upcoming Assembly Elections in Andhra Pradesh, Pawan will contest from Bhimavaram in West Godavari and from the Gajuwaka constituency in Visakhapatnam.
Pawan’s Jana Sena Party will be contesting both the Assembly and the Lok Sabha Elections in April. This is the first time that his party is contesting elections – in 2014, JSP had backed the then-alliance between BJP and TDP.
In preparation for the polls, Pawan Kalyan campaigned extensively in East Godavari, West Godavari, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada. In fact, he camped for over 20 days in Bhimavaram. He met with the victims of Aqua Food Park last April – a mega industrial park set up with the support of the Andhra government that is allegedly polluting water bodies around. Villagers in the region allege that a total of 1.5 lakh people in the hamlets surrounding Tundurru, where the park is set up, have been affected by the Food Park.
Gajuwaka meanwhile reportedly has the highest number of JSP members – of over 1 lakh people. This was also a stronghold of Pawan Kalyan’s brother Chiranjeevi’s erstwhile party Praja Rajyam, and analysts believe that Chiranjeevi’s voter base has now shifted to Pawan Kalyan.
Both Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram segments are dominated by the Kapu community, which Pawan Kalyan belongs to.
According to JSP, the general body members surveyed the entire state and Anantapur, Tirupati, Rajanagaram, Pithapuram, Bhimavaram, Gajuwaka, Pendurthi and Icchapuram were found to be favourable for Pawan. However, they finally decided to field Pawan from Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram. The party also announced candidates for one more Lok Sabha seat and 13 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh. Bellamkonda Saibaba will contest from the Ongole parliamentary constituency.
It’s not common from Chief Ministerial aspirants to contest from two seats in elections; the only recent example is former Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah who contested two seats in Karnataka and lost one of them in the Assembly elections last May. Late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa meanwhile had contested two seats in 1991 and 2001.
Elections to the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh are scheduled for April 11. Polling for all 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana will also be held on the same day.
JSP has decided to leave two Lok Sabha and seven Assembly seats each for the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). It has also offered 21 Assembly seats and three Lok Sabha seats to BSP. JSP-BSP-Left have formed an alliance in Andhra Pradesh.