Jana Sena party leader Pawan Kalyan, popularly known as Power Star by his followers, is all set to address his first political rally on September 9 at Kakinada in East Godavari district on Friday.
The Telugu actor-turned-politician had addressed a small public meeting at Tirupathi on August 27 where he made a loud demand for special status for Andhra Pradesh. The Tirupathi public meeting was organised overnight leading everyone to believe that it had the blessings of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Naidu is said to have been using PK as a stymie against Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabhan. As PK is also a Kapu, Naidu probably believes that he can keep Padmanabham at bay at least for some time.
The rally at the coastal town on September 9 is apparently the first in a series of agitation programmes unveiled by him. The choice of the venue gains significance, because it was here that the BJP had adopted a resolution in the run-up to the 1998 elections, promising to work for creation of Telangana state, with the poll slogan “one vote-two states.”
PK is likely to use the rally to mount pressure on the Centre to grant Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, a demand that is now being made by all political parties in the state. The Centre, however, remains unmoved.
PK has a huge fan following, especially in the coastal Andhra region, but that doesn't say much about him. His elder brother and Rajya Sabha MP Chiranjeevi too had an unbelievable following, making all believe that he would be the next CM in 1999. Chiranjeevi lost one of the two seats he was standing from, and in an embarrassing reversal of events, he merged his party with the Congress.
The actor is training his guns against both the NDA at the Centre and the Telugu Desam Party government in the state for “betraying the people of the state”, though he had supported the TDP-BJP combine in the 2014 general elections and was a star attraction at their election rallies. PM Narendra Modi was said to have given more attention to the actor than his electoral partner Naidu.
However, PK is now accusing the BJP of trying to divert the public attention from crucial and pressing issues. The Kakinada meeting is expected to serve as a platform for the film star to invoke the Telugu atma gauravam' or self-respect plank and to raise the pitch on the special status issue.
“The people are growing restive. They will not settle for anything less than special status. It is their right and I will fight along with them till the goal is achieved," he said. PK launched the 'Jana Sena' in March 2014, but with no activity it has been dormant if not dead.
PK has a three-phase action plan to realise the goal of special category status. He said that he would address a series of public meetings across the state to explain to people the benefits of the special tag. The Kakinada meeting would be followed by a sustained campaign to mount pressure on MPs, cutting across party lines, to secure the special status. And, in the third phase, the Jana Sena would take to the streets and organise mass agitations.
Though the timing of the Kakinada rally doesn't make much sense, the actor is keenly looking for a more decisive role in the 2019 elections.