For a few weeks before March 14 when he launched the Jana Sena Party, the buzz was particularly about Pawan Kalyan’s plans as to whether he would enter the electoral fray. In a freewheeling chat with The Hindu, the actor and founder-president of the party opens up.
“I will not contest in the 2014 elections because I know I need to build my army of ethically and morally-sound youth who are also socially-conscious. Only when I am confident of doing that will I think electorally and I can confidently say that 2019 will be my goal. Until then, I will be a crusader for social change,” declares the actor. Excerpts:
Was Jana Sena born out of frustration? Is the party here to stay? Do you have any specific plan to run the party
It is not frustration, but anger at the way people have been taken for granted by every successive government that appears to think of the common man only during the elections. And yes, Jana Sena is here to stay and that is why I am not rushing into the elections. By nature I am slow, so I will take my time. When I get the complete understanding that I am seeking and when I am confident that I have the army of youth I am striving to form, I will announce my future plans by the year-end. Till then, I will keep interacting with people, specially the youth, probably twice a week.
If you are not entering poll arena, why did you float the Jana Sena during the election time? Do you think the timing of the launch is wrong? Are you worried that it would meet the same fate as that of your brother Chiranjeevi’s PRP
I never rush into anything and do something I am not sure of taking it to its logical conclusion. It’s better I wait and give it my best shot. My only aim is that we should speak in one voice.
There are rumours floating around that some powerful persons were behind your decision to launch the party. Are they true
Not at all. But if you insist, I must say that the Congress was behind my floating Jana Sena. In the sense, it forced me into doing what I did.
What’s this ISM all about
It’s just a book of what I and Raju Ravitej feel about the goings-on around us. A product of six years of hard toil, poring over notes many a night.
Why and how did you zero in on Narendra Modi as a leader who would bail India out from its problems? Will you support Chandrababu Naidu
Mr. Modi does not need any introduction to people. I have been reading on him and his development models for some time now and in my interaction with him in Gandhinagar recently, I could actually sense that he could do it. People are not ready to believe Mr. Naidu though he has done some wonderful work.
You said Telugu youth are angry over the divide created between the two regions. Can you explain your anger
The way the Congress took people here for granted and the way they were taken for a ride angers me. The Congress did not and could not even say ‘sorry’ for the haphazard manner in which the complex issue of bifurcation was handled. They have almost created another Khalistan. I am hurt at the way our MPs were attacked in Parliament, the way our people took the brunt of a political decision by the Congress, the way they were caught in the crossfire for no fault of theirs.
Truth suffers where money rules. Thinkers pursue truth and hence, thinkers must stay away from money, said your friend and Jana Sena associate Raju Ravitej. Do you consider yourself a thinker or a maverick? If so, will you stay away from money
Of course I will stay away from money. However, I must add that I am planning to have in place a transparent, audit system to handle the money that friends all over the world have promised to contribute. I know I should be accountable to them.
Kancha Ilaiah questions your allegiance to Mr. Modi. He also takes a dig at you saying revolutionary thoughts must be practised and not merely preached. Your comment
What do we have today? The UPA and the NDA are the two forces. Since I have reason not to like the former, the latter engages my attention. Sure I believe that Mr. Modi will achieve what he says he will and that he is good for the country. In one way, I feel that I need not answer the myriad questions that people throw at me or react to criticism that is frequently directed at me because I am what they consider as a soft target. Conversely, I also feel that I should make my point clear and make the other person understand too. Yes, I agree a leader should lead by example and that is what I intend to do.
If you are not after power or position, what are you after? Does your heart always beat for the oppressed
I am for social change. I am definitely not where I am, for power or position. I wish for change, change to address the needs of people, to put pressure on government. I want to be one more voice for them, a voice that will really connect. And yes, my heart beats for the needy.
What drives you? Who is your guiding force