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Brothers in arms: Pawan Kalyan’s swearing-in makes Chiranjeevi proud

Vijayawada, June 12 : It was a moment Jana Sena leader and actor Konidala Pawan Kalyan had been waiting for years.

Taking oath as a minister in the presence of his elder brother and megastar Konidala Chiranjeevi in front of thousands of people was a big achievement for the actor-politician.

‘Power star’, as Pawan Kalyan is popularly known in film circles, was the first minister to take oath after Nara Chandrababu Naidu was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday.

There were loud cheers from his fans and supporters as the Jana Sena leader took oath.

Chiranjeevi, who was seated with superstar Rajinikanth and actor-politician N. Balakrishna on the adjacent dais, was seen clapping while his wife Konidala Lezhneva, who was present in one of the VIP galleries, was delighted.

Chiranjeevi, whose political tryst ended in a disaster 15 years ago, was proud to see his younger brother taking oath, and the centre stage of Andhra Pradesh politics.

After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chandrababu Naidu, and Governor Abdul Nazeer, Pawan Kalyan headed to the adjacent dais to take the blessings of Chiranjeevi by touching his feet, as the megastar hugged his brother to congratulate him.

Pawan Kalyan, after the completion of the swearing-in, went to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to meet his elder brother. The PM obliged and held the hands of the siblings and raised them in a show of bonhomie.

Pawan Kalyan in a way gifted his win to Chiranjeevi. The victory came after his hard work of the last 10 years and the big setback of 2019 when he lost both the Assembly seats he contested.

Jana Sena, which had fought the elections in alliance with the BSP and the Left parties, could win just one seat in the 175-member Assembly and even the lone MLA had later defected to the ruling YSR Congress Party.

This time, Jana Sena changed its strategy to strike an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). By winning all 21 Assembly and both Lok Sabha seats it contested, Jana Sena had a 100 per cent strike rate in the polls.

Pawan Kalyan was elected from the Pithapuram constituency in Kakinada district with a margin of 70,000 votes to finally make it to the Assembly.

The Jana Sena led by Pawan achieved what the Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) floated by Chiranjeevi could not in 2008.

The superstar had launched PRP amid much fanfare in 2008 when it was compared to legendary actor N. T. Rama Rao’s political plunge with the formation of TDP in 1982, which changed the course of Andhra Pradesh politics.

Pawan Kalyan was then the leader of the youth wing of PRP. The duo along with their brother and actor Naga Babu and other family members had actively campaigned during the 2009 elections. However, the party came a cropper, winning just 18 seats in the 294-member Assembly of united Andhra Pradesh.

Chiranjeevi himself suffered defeat from Palakollu in his home district of West Godavari, but was elected from Tirupati.

The death of then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009, a few months after retaining power, and the subsequent developments altered the political scene in the state.

In 2011, Chiranjeevi merged PRP with Congress and the latter rewarded him with nomination to the Rajya Sabha and induction into the Union Cabinet as Minister of State for Tourism (independent charge).

The bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014 triggered huge public anger against the Congress in the Andhra and Rayalaseema region as the party drew a blank in simultaneous Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The elections also saw the two brothers in rival camps. While Chiranjeevi was leading the Congress campaign, Pawan Kalyan had vowed to finish off the party which ‘divided’ the state. He did not contest the elections but campaigned for the TDP-BJP alliance, which stormed to power in bifurcated Andhra Pradesh.

After the Congress’ complete rout, Chiranjeevi distanced himself from politics and started focusing on films once again. However, Pawan Kalyan was determined to play a long innings.

The Jana Sena leader later parted ways with both the BJP and TDP for failing to deliver on the promise to accord special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

The maverick star vowed to continue his fight for new-age politics and took up campaigns on some major public issues. He, however, came under criticism from rivals for being a part-time politician. Unfazed by this criticism, he continued his efforts.

After the disaster of 2019, he revived the alliance with the BJP. He became active about two years ago and started working to bring together the TDP and the BJP, which had snapped ties in 2018 on the issue of special category status.

This time, he vowed to end the ‘misrule’ of YSRCP and took the initiative to align with the TDP. He finally succeeded in bringing the BJP on board and even sacrificed a few seats to avoid a split of anti-incumbency votes.

He made it clear to his supporters that he is not in a hurry and that he remained committed to bringing about a change and achieving his goal of new-age politics.

As someone who does not fear defeat, the ‘Power Star’ was determined to carry on his fight. The actor-politician, who connects well with people, especially the youth, started gaining acceptance.

His strategy paid rich dividends not only for the Jana Sena, but also for the alliance which stormed to power with a landslide victory.

Pawan, who made his film debut in 1996 with ‘Akkada Ammayi, Ikkada Abbayi’ and has a string of hits under his belt, is seen as a person yearning for some higher purpose in life.

He admitted on several occasions that sometimes, he used to feel completely out of place in the movies.

Now with his entry into the Assembly and as the Deputy Chief Minister, he is set to play a new real-life role.

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