Two friends from the Telugu film industry have now turned political foes, as the relationship between Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan and his long-time friend and comedian Ali has soured.
Speaking at a rally earlier this week, Pawan claimed Ali had deserted him by joining the YSRCP, one of the party’s opposing the Jana Sena in the upcoming election. During a speech in Ali’s hometown of Rajahmundry, Pawan said he trusted Ali as a friend, but the latter had deserted him. Pawan also claimed that he had offered the Narasaraopet MP ticket to a candidate recommended by Ali, but Ali joined the YSRCP instead.
In a video response, Ali said that he has the right to join any political party he wishes to. Furthermore, he said that he has paved his own way unlike Pawan, who has followed his brother Chiranjeevi's footsteps.
Ali, whose full name is Mohammad Ali Basha, is an actor who has acted in more than 1000 films in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi. Ali was known to be Pawan’s best friend in Tollywood, and while there were reports of Ali joining Pawan’s Jana Sena, he joined the YSRCP in March.
In his speech, Pawan asked, "Even as I was trying to address his concerns, YSRCP used him. Even as I made this offer, he has gone and started campaigning for YSRCP. I don't understand. Is your fear that Pawan Kalyan won't win and Jagan will? Is that our friendship?".
"That is why I don't believe in anyone except you (people)," he added.
Pawan also said that Ali left him even though he believed Ali and stood with him during times of hardship.
Following Pawan's speech, in a video response, Ali claimed that he didn't have any support at the time he began his career in Chennai. "Many have profited from me. I was never on the receiving end of kindness, I never sought anyone's help,” he said.
He also said that he has never criticised Pawan Kalyan or the Jana Sena in campaigns, and was the first in Pawan’s line of well-wishers.
Questioning Pawan's claims of helping Ali, he said, “Have you given me any money? Have you assisted me? Have you given me any film opportunities when I didn't have any? I was in a good position even before you came into cinema. I have never asked anyone for help when I was in trouble. I don't have the need to ask. With god’s grace, I have enough. If there comes a time that I have to beg, I will die if such a time arrives.”
“I am deeply hurt by your words. What is wrong in joining YSRCP? Is that a crime? Is it written in the Constitution that we should not join? Don't we have freedom? Should not we join any party? Should not we campaign?”
Ali also stated that Pawan has never called him before or after giving a ticket to anyone, and nor has he endorsed anyone. He also stated that Pawan did not call him to join his party.