In what comes as a major shot in the arm for BJP’s prospects in the state of Andhra Pradesh, Konidela Kalyan Babu, better known as Pawan Kalyan has joined hands with the BJP. The alliance with the political outfit led by Telugu star gives BJP that much of an added advantage in Andhra Pradesh.
Announcing the alliance, actor turned politician said that the two parties will contest all the upcoming elections together, and also expressed the hope of storming to power in the year 2024. The Jana Sena supremo also said that his party has decided to align with the BJP for the development of the state of Andhra Pradesh. Pawan Kalyan said, “We are forging alliance unconditionally. We will contest the upcoming local body and general elections in 2024.”
BJP in-charge for Andhra Pradesh, Sunil Deodhae said, “Today is a historic day of announcement of BJP-Jana Sena alliance.” He added, “We will fight together to end political casteism, political dynasty raj and corruption in the state.” Taking a dig at the present Andhra CM, Jagan Reddy and his predecessor, Chandrababu Naidu, Deodhar said, “In a short period of time, Jagan Mohan Reddy government has failed and so did Chandrababu Naidu. And there is no question of any alliance of the BJP with Telugu Desam or with YSRCP in the state.”
As such both the parties seem to know that they are going to benefit by aligning together. The BJP is not really non-existent in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In the recent past, the party has also shown the appetite and the ability to expand its footprint to those states where it traditionally did not enjoy much presence or popularity. Moreover, Kalyan would obviously gain an advantage by forging an alliance with the only truly pan-India party in the country.
The BJP and the Jana Sena had contested the 2014 polls together when Kalyan had extended support to the BJP-TDP combine. However, during the 2019 general elections, the Pawan Kalyan led Sena allied with the BSP and the left parties. The new political arrangement in 2019 failed for Kalyan as his party lost all but one seat that it contested from. The Telugu star himself lost both the seats that he contested from.
Now, Kalyan blames the miscommunication between the BJP and the JSP (Jana Sena Party) for the eventual split in the alliance. Kalyan clearly realises that there is a lot of room when it comes to improving upon his party’s performance in the 2019 polls.
Naidu faced massive backlash during the 2019 polls for his populist brand of politics that did not offer much substance. Even the minority appeasement politics of the present Chief Minister, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy, could evoke anti-incumbency and create ample political space for the BJP-JSP combine when the state goes to polls in 2024.
Having gauged favourable political circumstances in Andhra Pradesh, the two parties are now trying to create a “third alternative” as against Naidu and Jaganmohan Reddy. The BJP which must be eager to expand its footprint in the Southern states could not have found a better ally than the Telugu film star who is a famous personality in the state due to his background, and also on account of his humanitarian works within Andhra Pradesh and beyond.
The political conditions in the state also offer a prolific opportunity to build a third political alternative that can disrupt the existing electoral equations in the state. Kalyan, on the other hand, benefits from the pro-development narrative that he can pursue by aligning with the BJP.