Kommineni Srinivasa Rao

Actor-turned-politician and founder of Jana Sena, Pawan Kalyan spoke in a voice filled with emotion during a speech to mark the Founder's Day celebration of his party. However, not once did he refer to the scams and atrocities of the TDP government and this came as a disappointment to many Jana Sena workers. His speech was peppered with sloganeering and lacked substance. There was nothing new in the election manifesto of Jana Sena in terms of promises. Perhaps the only new point was the proposed pension of Rs 5000 for farmers. Pawan Kalyan did not comment on the TDP government or its function. He could not even explain why it needed to be changed. It appeared as if the bite was missing in his speech, which is quite different from the fire and brimstone he breathed at the TDP sometime ago. He had then said that Chandrababu Naidu was getting ready to spend 25 crores in each constituency. Why did he not mention it now?

Back then, Pawan said that Shekar Reddy, who was caught by the law enforcement agencies had links with Nara Lokesh. His silence on this count was deafening. Except for saying that Chandrababu Naidu changed his statement every six months, there was no serious criticism of the TDP or its leader. Pawan Kalyan who questioned whether BC candidates would be given tickets for Pulivendula Assembly and Kadapa Lok Sabha constituencies did not pose any question to Chandrababu Naidu. In truth Chandrababu Naidu's original constituency is Chandragiri in Chittoor which he left for Kuppam in 1999. Kuppam has a majority of BC communities and had represented to Chandrababu to give them the ticket for the constituency. Instead of questioning Chandrababu Naidu on this, Pawan is questioning YS Jagan who is contesting from his native place. Similarly, Pawan did not comment on Amaravati, on the absence of any permanent building there or on the harassment of farmers there by the AP government.

The Jana Sena founder completely ignored the data theft conspiracy and avoided any reference to TDP's sevamitra app, which had accessed sensitive information of the citizens of AP. Instead, much in the style of Chandrababu, he lashed out at Telangana Chief Minister k Chandrashekar Rao. Pawan accused KCR of meddling in AP affairs. It was the same Pawan Kalyan who met Telangana chief minister with regard to his movie and the same individual who heaped praises on the TRS chief. Now, Pawan Kalyan turns around and accuses YS Jagan of befriending KCR as if he's reading lines from Chandrababu's script.

Pawan claimed that the Centre had denied funds to Polavaram. Can he explain as to what happened to the 7000 crores given by the Centre? While AIIMS is being built, Pawan says that it has not been sanctioned. There is nothing wrong in asking for Special Category Status, but echoing TDP's statements sends out wrong signals. While it was Pawan Kalyan and Chandrababu who allied with the BJP in 2014, they are now trying to accuse YS Jagan even when the YSRCP is going it alone in the upcoming elections. Everyone knows how Chandrababu Naidu craved for a tie-up with the TRS in the Telangana elections. Is Pawan Kalyan not aware of this? Why is he silent on these matters? On the subject of reservations to the Kapu community, Pawan sang a different tune this time, saying that his party would try to accommodate Kapu reservations in the ninth schedule.

In the final analysis, Pawan Kalyan's speech lacked the ring of authenticity a Jana Sena worker would have sought. Barring odd fits of emotions, there was no clear criticism of the TDP government. One gathered that Pawan Kalyan seemed to target YS Jagan instead of Chandrababu Naidu. But one wishes that he had said so openly.

Pawan does have a certain measure of following in younger sections of the population, but his speech did not appear to be motivating enough for them. His recent speech should be analysed with his speech at Guntur last year in which he made sensational allegations against Chandrababu Naidu. The response was something else then, as opposed to the lukewarm reaction of the crowd now. Jana Sena's pact with the BSP leads to fresh doubts about Pawan Kalyan's credibility and integrity. It seems as if Pawan Kalyan is out to please Chandrababu Naidu. Interestingly, his brother Nagababu has been more critical of Chandrababu.

Also Read: Nagababu Political Satire: We will Give Chandrababu Rest in This Elections

The doubt which arises in everyone's mind is whether there is a strategy to Pawan's silence on Chandrababu's misdeeds or whether he is being influenced by the TDP. The impression that one gets is that he has not been able to enthuse Jana Sena Cadre.