Jana Sena Party, founded by Telugu actor Pawan Kalyan in 2014, aims to work for the welfare of the people of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, especially the youth, farmers, women and backward classes. Though it came into being with a huge hope, it looks like the party remains confused even 9 years after inception.
In the 2019 Assembly elections, Jana Sena Party contested in alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). However, the alliance failed to win any seat except for one seat won by Rapaka Varaprasad, who later supported the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). Interestingly, Pawan Kalyan himself lost from both the constituencies he contested, Bhimavaram and Gajuwaka.
After the election debacle, Jana Sena Party broke its alliance with BSP, CPI and CPM and joined hands with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in January 2020. The two parties announced that they would fight all future elections together and hope to capture power in Andhra Pradesh in 2024. They also declared their support for the demand of special category status for Andhra Pradesh and opposed the three-capital proposal of the YSRCP government.
The Jana Sena-BJP alliance has been trying to consolidate its base in Andhra Pradesh by raising various issues such as corruption, law and order, farmers’ distress, unemployment, education, health and development. The alliance has also been reaching out to various sections of society such as Kapus, Dalits, backward classes, minorities and women. The alliance has also been organizing protests, rallies, meetings and campaigns across the state to highlight its agenda and vision.
This alliance now faces a tough challenge from the ruling YSRCP led by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who enjoys a massive majority in the Assembly with 147 seats out of 175. The YSRCP has been implementing various welfare schemes such as Amma Vodi, Rythu Bharosa, YSR Aarogyasri, YSR Cheyutha, YSR Asara and Jagananna Vidya Deevena. The YSRCP has also been claiming credit for handling the Covid-19 pandemic effectively and ensuring free vaccination for all.
The other major opposition party in Andhra Pradesh is Telugu Desam Party (TDP) led by former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has 19 seats in the Assembly. The TDP has been criticizing the YSRCP government for its alleged misrule, corruption, nepotism, vendetta politics and anti-development policies. The TDP has also been opposing the three-capital proposal and demanding special category status for Andhra Pradesh. The TDP has also been accusing the Jana Sena-BJP alliance of being opportunistic and irrelevant.
However, the Jana Sena-BJP alliance has recently expressed its willingness to ally with TDP for the 2024 Assembly elections, provided the BJP is part of the alliance. Pawan Kalyan has said that he is ready to work with Naidu for the sake of Andhra Pradesh’s development and welfare. However, Naidu has not given any clear response to this offer and has said that he will decide on the alliance issue at an appropriate time.
The 2024 Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh will be a crucial test for the Jana Sena-BJP alliance, as it will have to prove its strength and popularity among the voters. The alliance will have to face the formidable challenge of the YSRCPand will have to deal with the TDP, which may or may not join hands with it. The alliance will have to present a clear and credible alternative to the people of Andhra Pradesh and convince them that it can deliver better governance and development than the YSRCP or the TDP.
So, Pawan Kalyan and his team, has an uphill task at hand, in not just convincing a whole state that they’re better, but also to find their own standing and have a clear ideology or a stand on their deliverables post-elections.