« Back to articlePrint this article

'Sorry brother, I can't campaign for Congress like you'

March 12, 2014 15:36 IST

Telugu superstar and Union minister Chiranjeveei, who merged his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress, is surely having problems with his brother Pawan Kalyan, another popular film star. The latter, who never agreed with his elder brother’s decision to join Congress, has now decided to float a new party to make certain electoral gains in the politically sensitive Seema-Andhra region. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

“Sorry annanya (brother), I can’t canvas for you after you merged with the Congress. My image will take a beating”. This is what Telugu superstar Pawan Kalyan told his megastar brother and Union minister Chiranjeevi.

Chiranjeevi had merged his Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress, which had led to the alleged rift between the two brothers, although it was kept under wraps for a long while. Pawan Kalyan was seen avoiding sharing dais with his brother in public functions.

On Friday, when Pawan Kalyan would launch his new party Jana Sena, it will become clear that he has launched an alternate force to the Congress -- the same party which has his brother as the campaign manager in Seema-Andhra region.

Back in 2009 after Chiranjeevi launched Praja Rajyam Party, there was a lot of enthusiasm among many. Pawan Kalyan campaigned extensively for his brother and the pitch they raised was anti-Congress.

However, after a poor performance in the assembly elections where the PRP got just 18 seats, Chiranjeevi was clearly uncomfortable. He wanted to be in power, and then much to the dismay and shock of many, he merged his party with the Congress.

He was made a Union minister although he wished he had a shot at the chief minister’s chair in Andhra Pradesh. When Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned, his name was doing the rounds to succeed him, but then the Congress decided that it was best to impose President’s Rule.

The two brothers had a tussle on Tuesday.

Chiranjeevi after merging his party with the Congress was told that he will have a bigger role to play in Andhra Pradesh. He wanted to project himself as the chief minister candidate and hence had to ensure that the party won a massive amount of seats because of him.

It was one such meeting in which he called Pawan Kalyan and actor Naga Babu where the entire problem began. Pawan Kalyan despite being very upset with the merger did not let it affect his relationship with his brother. However, during the meeting Chiranjeevi told him that he should join him in the campaign for the Congress.

Pawan Kalyan was apologetic and said that, “Sorry annaya (brother) after the merger with the Congress I cannot campaign for you. I spoke against the Congress even in my films and rallies and if I have to say Jai Sonia, then my image will take a beating”, sources said.

Chiranjeevi did not take this kindly and reminded Pawan Kalyan that his image was there because of him. “How does your image come in between all this”, Chiranjeevi asked.

Pawan Kalyan was upset and left the place, sources added.

Today Pawan Kalyan has made his intentions clear and despite being told by many of his directors and producers, he has decided to go ahead and float his new party called the Jana Sena.

Although this party will contest in all three regions in Andhra Pradesh, the main focus is going to be the Seema-Andhra region.

The Congress faces a tough battle in this region due to the Telangana issue and Pawan Kalyan, who has a huge fan following, will look to capitalise on this issue.

Pawan will lead the campaign for his essentially anti-Congress party. He will have to speak out against his brother’s party although he will avoid personal attacks against his brother.

While this is one part of the story, the other angle that people are speaking about is whether Pawan Kalyan has launched the party to save the Congress?

While a majority negate this angle, some say you never know what sort of talks has taken place behind closed doors.

The Congress is up against a lot of things in Seema-Andhra. The people are all set to crucify them over the Telangana issue and there is a headache in the form of Jagan Mohan Reddy who appears to be doing well in the region. ‘

Pawan Kalyan will rely heavily on votes from his fans. But that is hardly even a factor, considering the fan base of Chiranjeevi never converted into votes. But what Pawan Kalyan can manage to do is split the votes of the YSR Congress Party to a certain extent.

However, the bigger brunt would be borne by the Telugu Desam Party who have almost similar vote banks in coastal Andhra. This was quite evident from the call that TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu made three days back when he said both Kiran Kumar Reddy and Pawan Kalyan should join the TDP and fight against the Congress. 

Image: Pawan Kalyan and Chiranjeevi

Vicky Nanjappa