Will the ‘Pawan factor’ come to the rescue of the BJP-TDP combine? This is the question that is bugging the alliance partners facing a formidable challenge from the YSR Congress in West Godavari district.
Poll experts believe that the TDP-BJP had roped in ‘power star’ Pawan Kalyan with the hope of attracting the dominant Kapu community in the coastal Andhra region, a move to counter his actor brother and Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi. Caste equation has been playing an important role during the elections in the district since long and the Kapu community, with 3.5 lakh voters, is considered the best bet for all political parties in the Narsapur LS constituency.
Mr. Pawan Kalyan became a rallying point for certain sections of electorate, especially the youth, educated and the techies, during his public meetings in Bhimavaram and Tanuku, much to the advantage of the TDP-BJP combine. But, Mr. Pawan Kalyan does not have any exclusive fan association of his as his brother Mr. Chiranjeevi and he enjoyed a combined fan following till both parted ways in politics.
The BJP fielded Gokaraju Ganga Tata Raju, a business tycoon hailing from the affluent Kshatriya community, as its MP candidate in Narsapur and Pidikondala Manikyala Rao as an MLA nominee in Tadepalligudem . The YSRC, in a calculated move, fielded Vanka Ravindranath, a human hair exporter and a Kapu, as its MP candidate.
Kalavakolanu Nagatulasi in Narsapur and Chepala Ramu in Bhimavaram Assembly segments secured the Congress tickets under the quota of the Chiru Fans Association. The influence of Mr. Pawan Kalyan is limited in these two segments and the star brothers might witness a split in their fan following.
The BJP-TDP combine claims that Mr. Pawan Kalyan had influenced the course of election in its favour, in at least three to four Assembly segments under the Narsapur Lok Sabha constituency. However, the leaders see a threat in cross-voting in favour of the YSRC in certain pockets. Kothapalli Janakiram, brother of YSRC candidate for Narsapur Assembly constituency Kothapalli Subbarayudu, is said to be a chief patron of the fans associations of both the actor brothers and this is bugging the TDP-BJP combine.
Mr. Subbarayudu, obviously, hopes to benefit from cross-voting from Mr. Pawan’s fans. In Palacol, TDP rebel candidate T. Satyanarayanamurthy (Babji), a popular medical practitioner from the Kapu community, expects he will also gain from ‘Pawanism’.