In Andhra Pradesh minus the TRS, all other parties are in the fray. Telugu super star Pavan Kalyan, who had earlier declared that he was going to contest the elections with his own political party has now joined Narendra Modi bandwagon.
It is not an entirely surprising act. His elder brother and mega star Chiranjeevi made an unsuccessful bid for the power in 2009 and lost miserably. He is now a Union minister and a prominent face of the Congress in divided Andhra Pradesh.
Perhaps, Pavan Kalyan knows that launching a new party and contesting in a ‘do or die’ election is not going to be an easy thing. Anyway, he had launched his own party called ‘Jana Sena’ last week. He has decided not to contest in the elections. It has disappointed some of his fans. But, Pavan Kalyan is a pragmatic person. Instead of wasting his money and star power on a new party, he has done a very clever thing by aligning with Modi.
He belongs to Kapu caste. This intermediary caste (part of backward classes in AP) has around 4 per cent population in AP, mainly in coastal AP. Kapu caste has some presence even in Telangana. It can help Pavan Kalyan to split some votes, but Kapu vote alone can’t make him a big player. He knows what happened to Chiranjeevi last time. That’s why he is going with Modi.
The BJP is almost non-existent in the entire Andhra Pradesh. The TDP is trying to join hands with the BJP. Pavan Kalyan can add some more votes to the alliance and may even eat into YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s votes at some places.
After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the Congress has lost its relevance and ground in the state. Some of the remaining Congress vote can also go to Pavan Kalyan, if these people don’t want to side with the YSRCP or the TDP. If the TDP joins the BJP alliance, situation may change.
If the BJP and the TDP come together and Pavan Kalyan can manage some votes, this alliance can win some seats in both Andhra and Telangana. If it really happens, the YSRCP led by YS Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra, and the TRS and Congress in Telangana may face some tough challenge.
After meeting Narendra Modi, Pavan Kalyan declared that he would extend all support to Modi. Taking Pavan Kalyan’s help makes perfect political sense for the BJP. Because ‘something is better than nothing’. In politics, one never says no to a ‘helping’ hand.