“Power Star” and Jana Sena party president Pawan Kalyan has formed a joint action committee (JAC) with political parties and non-political outfits to fight for the interests of Andhra Pradesh that had been carved out of a combined state four years ago. Then main objective of the JAC is to fight for the special status as promised to the state at the time of its bifurcation in 2014.

This JAC has the potential to emerge as a platform for all those outside the ruling TDP and main opposition YSR Congress and who want to fight for the interests of AP in the run-up to the general elections in 2019. This is a part of the strategy of the 48-year-old Telugu silver screen hero to position himself as a third alternative in AP politics.                                   

The Tollywood-star-turned politician has invited some prominent persons from different political groups to join the JAC so that a long term agitation to fight for the interests of the residuary state can be launched. Pawan Kalyan specifically invited Lok Satta party leader and former IAS officer N. Jayaprakash Narayana and former Congress MP Undavalli Arun Kumar to join the JAC, and both agreed to work with him. Jayaprakash Narayana, who gave up electoral politics after his defeat in the 2014 elections, which he had contested from the Malkajgiri Lok Sabha seat from Hyderabad city, has decided to strive for protecting the interests of AP. In 2009, the former civil servant was elected to the AP Assembly from Kukatpally in the city. But he couldn’t expand his party either in erstwhile AP or in Karnataka where he contested polls.

Arun Kumar, too, lost as a Congress MP from Rajahmundry in 2014 and is maintaining a low profile as the party fared badly in successive elections in AP. Arun Kumar has accepted Pawan Kalyan’s invitation to join the JAC. Besides these two leaders, dozens of other leaders have expressed their interest to work with the Jana Sena chief through his JAC.

The concept of the JAC, according to Pawan Kalyan, has been borrowed from a JAC which championed the cause of a separate Telangana from 2009 to 2014. Telangana’s JAC, which was formed at the initiative of TRS chief K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR), worked under the leadership of an Osmania University political science professor M. Kodandaram and became a coordinating body for all political parties till 2014.

Of course, Telangana’s JAC later split into smaller groups as KCR became the CM in 2014 and insisted that the body be dissolved. However, Prof Kodandaram defied him and continued to operate the JAC and turned against KCR on a host of public issues in the last three years. Currently, Prof Kodandaram has announced the launch of a new political party to remove the TRS government in Telangana.

Though Pawan Kalyan is not in agreement with the political goals of Kodandaram and his JAC, he is impressed with the way the broader platform functioned and attracted intellectuals from political and non-political fields. “I want to revive the spirit of the Telangana’s JAC. Andhra Pradesh, too, should now have a JAC to fight for its interests,” said Pawan Kalyan in Hyderabad on Friday. Pawan, younger brother of another Tollywood superstar and Congress Rajya Sabha member Chiranjeevi, has made it clear that the need of a JAC arose from the present political situation where both TDP and YSR Congress have failed to protect the interests of AP and secure the state’s just demands from the Centre.

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