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After his party’s Telangana drubbing, Pawan Kalyan Andhra plans may see change | Political Pulse News

Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP), which contested the Telangana Assembly elections in alliance with the BJP, failed to make a mark, with all its eight candidates losing their deposits.

The BJP, which managed to double its vote share from around 6% in 2018 to about 14%, was banking on the JSP to use its “Andhra card” to target the “settler” population, especially in urban areas of the state.

However, with the exception of Kukatpally in Hyderabad – known to have a significant chunk of voters who have migrated from Andhra Pradesh – the JSP sank. The JSP candidate here, Mummareddy Prem Kumar, finished third behind the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Congress, with around a 16% vote share.

Kukatpally is believed to have at least 70,000 Kapu votes, the community to which Pawan Kalyan belongs, and around 40,000 Kamma voters, who are originally from Andhra Pradesh.

Party insiders claim sidelining Nemuri Shankar Goud to field Kumar from Kukatpally hurt the JSP. “Goud had been working relentlessly in Kukatpally. Kumar was formally inducted into the party after he was given the ticket,” a local party leader pointed out.

Festive offer

In the remaining seven seats that the JSP contested – Khammam, Kothagudem, Wrya, Aswaraopeta, Kodad, Nagarkurnool and Tandur – none of its candidates breached the 5,000-vote mark. Khammam, Kothagudem and Wyra fall in the border region with Andhra Pradesh.

Although the actor tried to rake up the Telangana sentiment and played the OBC card during campaigning, his “Andhra identity” seemed to have remained a hurdle.

The JSP’s poor performance was immediately commented upon by the ruling Andhra Pradesh party, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP. Minister Ambati Rambabu said the TDP’s caste allegiance had sabotaged the JSP’s chances in Telangana.

There is also an impression that some voters in Telangana may have turned away from the BJP because of the tie-up with the JSP, which they considered an “Andhra outfit”.

Pawan Kalyan’s lacklustre performance in Telangana has now raised questions about his future in the upcoming elections in Andhra Pradesh, where his party is in the fray with Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

The alliance was seen as the one which would unite the Kapu and Kamma (traditional TDP voters), which seemingly do not see eye-to-eye politically, to take on the YSRCP. However, the actor-turned-politician’s influence is seen to be limited to the Godavari districts (East and West) – an area considered to be numerically dominated by Kapus.

Sources working closely with the TDP in Andhra Pradesh said the party is keeping a keen watch on the JSP’s foray into Telangana. “The politics of both the states are very different. However, we are keeping a close eye on the happenings in Telangana as it could offer us deep insights into what is working and what is not. It is too soon to take any concrete calls at the moment,” he said.

Pawan Kalyan’s outfit had contested the 2019 Andhra elections in alliance with Mayawati’s BSP and the Left. It managed to win only one seat of the 137 it contested. He himself had contested two constituencies – Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram – and lost.

Rocky alliance

The TDP-JSP alliance has been rocky to say the least. Incidents of party workers and cadre facing off and even assaulting each other are not uncommon. Recently, in Pithapuram Assembly segment, workers of the two parties were involved in a fistfight during a coordination committee meeting after an argument broke out between former TDP MLA S V S N Varma and JSP Assembly constituency incharge Srinivas.

In Jaggampeta Assembly constituency too, former MLA Jyothula Nehru of the TDP, whose son Naveen is likely to be fielded by the party in the upcoming elections, was involved in an altercation with JSP Assembly incharge Patamsetty Suryachandra during a coordination committee meeting, leading to a fight between the workers of the two parties. Such instances have resulted in the halting of coordination committee meetings in most parts of the state.

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