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Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP), which is a TDP ally, has been talking with others to form a joint action committee over the same issue. Photo: AFP
Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP), which is a TDP ally, has been talking with others to form a joint action committee over the same issue. Photo: AFP

Pawan Kalyan’s Joint Action Committee idea irks ally TDP

Pawan Kalyan's move to call upon former Congress MP Undavalli Arun Kumar to form a JAC on allocation of funds to Andhra Pradesh will be unacceptable to the TDP

Hyderabad: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which is currently at loggerheads with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the centre over non-allocation of funds to Andhra Pradesh in the Union budget 2018, has a problem at hand.

Actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party (JSP), which is a TDP ally, has been talking with others to form a joint action committee over the same issue.

TDP leaders said that Kalyan’s latest move to call upon former Congress MP Undavalli Arun Kumar, who is known to be close to former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (father of YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy), to form a JAC will be unacceptable to the TDP, and might even jeopardize the alliance.

A TDP leader from Andhra Pradesh said, on the condition of anonymity, that the party cadre had been asked not to criticize the JSP due to its alliance. “But talking to someone like Undavalli might not go down well with the TDP," he said.

Kalyan, who belongs to the Kapu community, had campaigned for the BJP-TDP alliance during the 2014 assembly and general elections and did not contest elections himself, is credited for TDP’s win in all the assembly seats in east and west Godavari districts, besides a few other districts.

Apart from Kumar, the JSP leader has also met Lok Satta Party (LSP) chief Jayprakash Narayan to form the JAC. “We were having discussions with Pawan Kalyan, as he wants to contest the coming elections. He will be given seats too, but if he goes forward forming the JAC, the TDP will not be okay with that group vetting things, especially given that Undavalli is anti-Telugu Desam," said the TDP leader mentioned earlier.

He added that Kalyan, though not seen as a threat to the TDP, could have some influence on a few seats, splitting votes between the TDP and JSP in case the alliance is called off.

After announcing in January that he will contest elections in 2019, Kalyan began his political campaign from Jagtial district in Telangana with a three-day tour and later extended it to Andhra Pradesh. After the Union budget 2018 was announced, he criticized the state and central governments for not allocating more funds, and floated the idea of forming the JAC. On Sunday, the JSP leader met Kumar and at a press conference said that the JAC will be headed by the latter.

“As of now the JAC is too vague, as it does not look like everyone has agreed to it and it might not have a wide acceptance. Only Pawan Kalyan can motivate people among them, but his politics appears to favour TDP. Joining hands with Undavalli shows that he is trying to target the Bharatiya Janata Party and its credibility," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

Reddy added that Kalyan forming the JAC could also be a pressure tactic to stop the BJP from growing in Andhra Pradesh. JSP members, however, refused to comment on the issue.

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