Pawan Kalyan to contest for Andhra Assembly from Pithapuram

Ending the suspense, Jana Sena Party chief and Tollywood actor Pawan Kalyan on Thursday announced that he would be contesting the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections from Pithapuram constituency.

Addressing the party’s formation day celebrations at its headquarters at Mangalagiri, he announced that he will be entering the fray from Pithapuram in Kakinada district.

This ended the speculations that Pawan Kalyan may contest the Lok Sabha elections.

“For now, I don’t have any plans to contest for Lok Sabha polls,” he said.

He will contest the poll as the candidate of the TDP-BJP-JSP alliance.

The YSR Congress has appointed the sitting MP from Kakinada, Vanga Geetha, as its coordinator for Pithapuram.

However, with Pawan Kalyan’s announcement, the ruling party may field Mudragada Padmanabham, who recently announced joining the YSR Congress.

Mudragada Padmanbham is a key leader of Kapus, a community Pawan Kalyan comes from.

In 2019, Pendem Dorababu of the YSR Congress was elected from Pithapuram, defeating S.V.S.N. Varma of the TDP by 14,992 votes. M. Seshu Kumari of the Jana Sena had finished a distant third.

Under the electoral alliance with the TDP and the BJP announced recently, the Jana Sena is contesting 21 Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats.

Simultaneous elections to the 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state are slated to be held in April-May.

The TDP will contest 144 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats. Ten Assembly and six Lok Sabha seats have been left for the BJP.

Popular as a “power star”, Pawan Kalyan had a disastrous electoral debut in 2019, losing both the Assembly seats he contested. He contested from Gajuwaka and Bhimavaram from Visakhapatnam and West Godavari districts, respectively but lost both to the YSR Congress candidates.

The Jana Sena, which had contested the polls in alliance with BSP and the Left parties, could secure just one Assembly seat.

Pawan Kalyan, the younger brother of megastar K. Chiranjeevi, entered politics by floating the Jana Sena in 2014. The party, however, did not contest the election.

Expressing himself impressed with the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he backed the BJP-TDP alliance. The actor later distanced himself from both the BJP and TDP after charging them with backtracking on the promise of special category status to Andhra Pradesh. After the drubbing of the 2019 polls, Pawan revived ties with the BJP and joined the NDA.

Political analysts say he played a key role in forging the tripartite alliance with the TDP and the BJP to challenge the YSR Congress.

Jana Sena has so far announced six candidates for Assembly polls. At a meeting with party leaders on Wednesday night, Pawan Kalyan is said to have given approval for another nine candidates.

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