Did Pawan Kalyan let go of an opportunity to play kingmaker?

While Jagan covered 134 constituencies in the state, Pawan didn’t tour the state extensively, thereby losing an edge over Jagan.
Did Pawan Kalyan let go of an opportunity to play kingmaker?
Did Pawan Kalyan let go of an opportunity to play kingmaker?

Actor Pawan Kalyan, who enjoys an immense fan following in both the Telugu states, will be making his debut in politics by contesting in the 2019 elections in Andhra Pradesh. Though the actor launched his party, Jana Sena, before the 2014 elections, he chose not to contest, and supported the TDP-BJP alliance. However, as the political equations have changed, Pawan will be contesting along with the Left parties in the ensuing elections.

However, despite having political experience and favourable political conditions in the state, which feels betrayed by the BJP for not fulfilling the promise of Special Category Status, Pawan has let go of the opportunity to emerge as a major force, which was seized by YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy, say political analysts.

‘Not enough legwork’

Juggling between films and his role as a political leader, the actor managed to visit East Godavari, West Godavari, Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam and Vijayawada in the past two years. He will be touring Guntur for two days on January 25 and 26. Meanwhile, Jaganmohan Reddy has created a monumental feat by covering more than 3,000 km in his Praja Sankalpa Yatra, covering 134 out of 175 constituencies in the state.

“It is true that if Pawan Kalyan had toured across the state, he would have given a bigger contest to the TDP and YSRCP. In Rayalaseema region, there is a sentiment that he didn’t visit them,” says Telakapalli Ravi, former journalist and political analyst. In Rayalaseema, the actor only toured Anantapur district.

"Pawan Kalyan had the opportunity to strengthen his party by touring the state and establishing district level and booth level offices. However, nothing as such happened, and the elections have already neared. Without any representative working on the ground, it is difficult for the party to gain anything major in the upcoming elections," notes political observer T Lakshminarayana.

‘Restricting himself to Godavari did not work out’

An analyst who has been keenly watching the Jana Sena Party says that Pawan Kalyan has given away a brilliant opportunity to expand in the state, by restricting himself to the Godavari region, due to caste equations. Pawan belongs to the Kapu caste, and Godavari region has a large concentration of Kapus.

However, Pawan hasn’t managed to make much gain in this region either. Only BJP MLA Akula Satyanarayana and former minister Ravela Kishore Babu have been convinced to join Jana Sena.

Another area where Pawan has failed is to create second rung leadership, say analysts. Other than Pawan himself, and the latest addition to his party Nadendla Manohar – a former Speaker of Andhra – the party doesn’t have any other face.

Analysts however say that if Pawan manages to work harder in the next 100 days – and manages to get a considerable number of seats in the state, he could be in a position to influence the government in the state. While YSRCP is totally dismissive of Pawan, the TDP is very keen on an alliance with him, apparent from both Chandrababu Naidu and MP TG Venkatesh’s statements in recent days.

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