The resignation of former CBI joint director VV Laksmi Narayana from the Jana Sena Party is the latest in a series of blows to the party since it was floated by popular actor Pawan Kalyan nearly six years ago.
The former Indian Police Service (IPS) official cited Pawan's decision to return to films as the reason for his resignation. He said in his resignation letter that the Jana Sena chief's inconsistent words made him take this decision.
The actor, however, defended his action saying he knows only acting to support his family and other dependents. Pawan recently started shooting for a Telugu re-make of Hindi movie 'Pink' and is reported to have signed another movie.
Lakshmi Narayana, who had taken voluntary retirement in 2018 to enter politics and joined Jana Sena last year, contested unsuccessfully from Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha seat. He was reportedly unhappy with Pawan for not consulting him while taking key decisions.
Lakshmi Narayana as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) joint director headed probes into several high-profile cases, including disproportionate assets cases against present Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
"Lakshmi Narayana's resignation is a political setback for Jana Sena. He was among the top three leaders in the party and garnered maximum number of votes in the 2019 elections. This will have an adverse impact not just on the party, but also on the image of Pawan Kalyan as a leader," political analyst P Raghavendra Reddy told IANS.
This came at a time when Pawan was hoping to be back at the centre stage of Andhra Pradesh politics with the recently announced alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
However, the actor's move to join hands with the BJP once again came under criticism from various quarters, with many wondering how he can do this without the Centre according a special category status to the state, an issue on which he had severed ties with the BJP.
"After losing the elections, and by forging an alliance with the BJP, Jana Sena Party and its supremo have clearly indicated they do not have the muscle and will to carry on and develop an independent identity. Today, Pawan Kalyan has turned into a BJP leader and people will look at him as one," said Raghavendra Reddy.
The analyst believes that Jana Sena has gone the Praja Rajyam way and surrendered its political ambitions to a national party.
Pawan Kalyan's electoral debut was more disastrous than his elder brother K. Chiranjeevi's. The superstar had floated the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) amid much fanfare a few months before the 2009 elections, hoping to recreate the magic of legendary actor and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder N.T. Rama Rao, who had created a record of sorts in the early 1980s by storming to power in nine months after taking the plunge into politics.
Chiranjeevi's party came a cropper, securing 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly of the then united Andhra Pradesh. The actor was defeated from one of the constituencies he contested.
Pawan Kalyan, who was with Chiranjeevi as the leader of the youth wing of the PRP, later fell out with him over his decision to merge the PRP with the Congress.
Pawan floated the Jana Sena in March 2014 to 'question powers that be'. His ire was entirely targeted at the Congress on the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
A strong supporter of then prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Pawan decided not to contest the elections and instead backed the TDP-BJP alliance. He shared the dais with Modi and TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu at election rallies, calling upon people to reject both the Congress and the YSRCP.
Later, Pawan distanced himself from both the parties after the BJP-led NDA government, of which TDP was a part, decided not to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh, a promise made by the alliance during the poll campaign.
In the April 2019 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections, which Jana Sena fought in alliance with the Left parties and Bahujan Samaj Party, Pawan's party got just one seat in the 175-member House. Pawan himself was defeated from both the Assembly seats he contested.
It was a huge blow for the 49-year-old, who was hoping to emerge as a kingmaker -- if not the king. What was more shocking for him was that the YSRCP came to power with a huge majority and Jagan Mohan Reddy became the Chief Minister. Pawan always had a strong dislike for the YSRCP chief.
Though enjoying a huge fan following, Pawan Kalyan failed to build the party at the grassroot level. The critics blame his mercurial nature and part time politician-like attitude. He is known for sudden bursts of activity followed by a long pause.