Popular Telugu film actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan released a “protest music album” in Vijayawada on Tuesday to highlight the demand for a special category status to Andhra Pradesh, which has been gaining momentum for the last two days following the success of Jallikattu movement in Tamil Nadu.
The album, titled Desh Bachao, is supposed to help raise a voice against opportunistic, divisive and criminal politics, but the actor also seemed to attack the Centre through it for failing to deliver on its promise to provide the special category status.
The Centre assured a special category status to the state during the passage of Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act in February 2014. The Narendra Modi-led government, however, backtracked on its promise on technical grounds and instead, announced a special financial package in September last year.
The album was posted on the YouTube channel of Jana Sena, the regional political outfit headed by Pawan, with hashtags: #APDemandSpecialStatus #JanaSena. Hashtags like #APDemandsSpecialStatus and ‘#APSelfRespectMoment have been trending on social media for the last two days.
It has six songs that have been mixed by 14-year-old DJ Prithvi and is a revisit of “protest, patriotic and inspirational songs” that Pawan conceived for his films over the last one and a half decades. The first track Travelling Soldier, originally composed by Telugu music director Ramana Gogula, is interspersed with emotional statements that Pawan made at the public meeting in Tirupati in September last year.
The song comprises the words Laddu… Laddu repeatedly, referring to the comment made by the actor at the Tirupati meeting, comparing the special package announced by the Modi government with “rotten laddus”.
Making a “gentle reminder” to the lawmakers, Pawan said they were standing on the sacrifices of countless selfless individuals who had given up everything for the future generation in the state.
“Oh friend who crossed the ocean on a boat called vote and showered a lot of promises on us, tell us what you are going to bring for us,” Pawan also tweeted quoting a poem of the famous Telugu poet Guntur Seshandra Sharma.
The actor has called for a silent protest rally at Ramakrishna beach in Visakhapatnam on January 26 on Republic Day, on the lines of Jallikattu protest by Tamils at Marina beach in Chennai that caught nation-wide attention.
Several actors have responded to Pawan’s call. Sai Dharam Teja and Varun Tej, Pawan’s nephews and upcoming actors, Nikhil Siddharth and Sundeep Kishan have announced they would take part in the Visakhapatnam rally.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu refused to comment on Pawan’s agitation but said there was absolutely no connection between Jallikattu and the demand for special status for the state.
“We have accepted the special package in lieu of special category status in the best interest of the state, as we needed funds from the Centre and not confrontation,” he said.
His cabinet colleagues, however, reacted sharply to the actor’s attack on the government.
“Pawan has a lot of clout in the Centre. He even shared the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 2014 election campaign. Why doesn’t he take up rallies and dharnas in front of PM’s residence in Delhi for special category status?” AP panchayati raj minister Ch Ayyanan Patrudu asked.
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