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Telugu film star Pawan Kalyan starts Telangana tour

Though Pawan has been raising his voice on issues of the people occasionally, he has not been regularly active in the political arena. Now, he has decided to test the political waters by contesting elections — in a few winnable seats.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2018 02:56 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telugu,film,star
Actor Pawan Kalyan’s Russian wife Anna Lezhnowa applies vermilion after ‘aarti’ (ritual) before he began his Telangana tour on Monday.(HT PHOTO)

With the heat rising in Tamil Nadu politics due to the entry of matinee idols Rajinikanth and Kamal Haasan, its two neighbours in the north, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, too, are set to witness a similar act, as popular Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan has decided to take a full-fledged plunge into politics.

Pawan, who had floated a regional political outfit, Jana Sena Party, shortly before the 2014 elections, had campaigned for the Telugu Desam Party-Bharatiya Janata Party combine.

He is now planning to test his political fortunes independently although detractors see state chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) president K Chandrasekhar Rao’s hand behind it to “split the anti-incumbency votes” in the next elections, which is 15 months away.

Though Pawan has been raising his voice on issues of the people occasionally, he has not been regularly active in the political arena. Now, he has decided to test the political waters by contesting elections — in a few winnable seats.

On Monday, the actor started a four-day political tour of Telangana, after launching his party’s women’s wing “Veera Mahila” at the party headquarters in Hyderabad.

His Russian wife Anna Lezhneva applied vermillion on his forehead and did “aarti” (ritual) before his started his tour. All religious prayers were held done earlier to bless him.

Dubbed “Chalo re Chalo re Chal” (a bit taken from the lyric of his popular Telugu film Jalsa), the tour began from Kondagattu, a pilgrimage centre in Jagitial district, after offering prayers to Lord Hanuman, his family deity.

Thousands of party workers and fans greeted him as he arrived at the temple town in a convoy of more than 50 cars. The police had a tough time controlling the crowd.

Later, he left for Karimnagar town, where he addressed a huge gathering of party workers in the evening to discuss the future plan of action.

Speaking to media later, Pawan said he would tour different parts of the two Telugu states to understand people’s issues and resolve them.

“After my tour in Telangana in the next three days, I am planning to tour Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh to study the drought-like situation there. Later, I will go to Ongole in Prakasam district to interact with the people affected by kidney ailments. Subsequently, I will tour tribal areas of Visakhapatnam and from there, I will visit the villages affected by nuclear power plant at Kovvada in Srikakulam district,” he said.

The actor said he did not want to adopt a confrontationist approach with the democratically elected government in both the Telugu states, but bring issues concerning the people to their notice.

“I would like to play constructive politics. I am not focussing on how many seats our party will win in the next elections, but on finding solution to the people’s issues,” he said.

The Jana Sena Party president said his party would contest only in those constituencies where it had winning chances. “We will disclose in a couple of months as to how many seats we will contest,” he said.

Congress leaders in Telangana tried to pick holes in Pawan’s campaign, saying he had strongly opposed the formation of Telangana from then-undivided Andhra Pradesh.

“How can he expect that his party would get the support in Telangana?” asked former Karimnagar MP and Congress leader Ponnam Prabhakar.

Prabhakar suspected state chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was behind Pawan’s tour, as he was trying to split the anti-incumbency vote in the state.

“Very recently, Pawan had met the chief minister at the latter’s camp office and praised him. He described KCR as a role model for all the chief ministers in the country. How can he put up a fight against the TRS government?” the Congress leader wondered.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 20:42 IST