In the light of Janasena leader and Pawan Kalyan’s aide Nadendla Manohar recently sparking some hope that Chiranjeevi will always support his younger brother’s political endeavours, there was a sudden rethink on the political graph of the legendary actor in the Telugu states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
One fundamental question that rang in the minds of the people was whether Chiranjeevi will make a comeback into politics? Currently, there is no clarity on this and the actor has been politically dormant for a very long time now.
The megastar from Mogalturu village in West Godavari district is busy shooting for his next movie ‘Acharya’.
“He (Chiranjeevi) never said that he is going out of the Congress. But till today he didn’t open his mouth, I am thinking he is a Congressman,” Sake Sailajanath, senior Andhra Pradesh Congress leader told IANS.
Sailajanath said Janasena cadres are speculating but he has no idea about it, clarifying that the Congress generally handles matters concerning former Central ministers such as Chiranjeevi.
Chiranjeevi established his own political outfit, Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) in 2008, less than one year before the General Elections in 2009.
The year 2009 was a different era compared to the early 1980’s when Nandamuri Tara Rama Rao established the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and stormed to power in just nine months.
Nearly 40 years ago, when there was not much globalisation in India or rampant employment in multinational companies (MNCs), the general public greatly ogled the movie stars, including getting swayed by their charisma.
Though this adulation still exists to a great extent, the power of that aura converting all movie star fans into potential voters has largely dissipated by 2009 and is even lesser in 2021.
And Chiranjeevi daring to go to polls with less a year’s time did end up in the most undesirable way for the actor’s political ambitions.
Alarm bells did ring right before going to the polls with the PRP as a good number of leaders, who swung in to support Chiranjeevi left the party, notably Parakala Prabhakar who called the party a ‘tree of venom’ right inside the PRP office where he convened a press conference.
Other notable people who very much encouraged Chiranjeevi to form a political outfit and did not last longer include Chegondi Harirama Jogaiah, Mithra and several others.
Janasena founder and actor — politician Pawan Kalyan played a firebrand role in the PRP. Sometime before the 2009 elections, sporting a red shirt, Kalyan called on the general public to chase away all the corrupt political leaders until their ‘panchas’ (‘dothis’) slip away at a public meeting at Indira Park in Hyderabad, though he himself is sporting panchas nowadays.
As the head of the PRP’s youth wing Yuvarajyam, Kalyan regularly exhibited belligerence and Adolf Hitler-like ferocious speeches.
Chiranjeevi’s other brother, Nagendra Babu, used to tour villages and towns in the southern state and conduct private negotiations with select people in secluded orchards in the run up to the formation of the PRP.
As usual, Chiranjeevi’s large family, including the many family movie stars rallied behind the actor in the 2009 polls, who opened a serious triangular competition between the Congress, TDP and PRP.
However, the less than one-year labour of the actor forming a party and campaigning resulted in a dud but managed to win 18 MLA seats, which was much better than the one seat Janasena managed in 2019 elections.
Both Chiranjeevi and TDP’s Nara Chandrababu Naidu could not match the arsenal of Y.S. Rajasekahar Reddy’s goodwill generated by his schemes such as Arogyashree (healthcare scheme), fee reimbursement, 108 ambulance and other common man friendly initiatives.
Was Chiranjeevi’s hurried bid to win the Chief Minister’s seatan eye-opener and a lesson to all the politicians in this modern age?
The world has also seen the considerable time current Andhra Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy took to form his government, about 10 years.
However, there will always be exceptions, as we have witnessed how Donald Trump ascended the US Presidency in such a less time, outsmarting legions of seasoned career politicians in the world’s oldest democracy.
G.V.V. Satish, an Amalapuram-based fan of Chiranjeevi believes that the actor may not again re-enter politics as he is busy with movies.
“I think the fans believe that Chiranjeevi will support but I don’t think he will re-enter politics. Maybe his son Ram Charan will support from outside,” said Satish.
He said they may not directly involve but chip in financially.
Janasena’s lone MLA, Rapaka Varaprasad, declined to comment when reached out about the Chiranjeevi speculation. Varaprasad himself is majorly leaning towards the ruling Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) nowadays.
Though Varaprasad shied away, his son Rapaka Venkat, who recently joined the YSRCP, opened up that Janasena leaders are not in tune with the reality according to his opinion.
“They don’t know the reality. They don’t know what happens in the constituency. I don’t think Chiranjeevi will support Janasena, in many interviews he said that my opinion is different from my brother’s,” noted Venkat.
In the meanwhile, we have also seen how Chiranjeevi has endeared himself to Reddy, a departure from the days when he used scathingly criticise the latter as a Congress leader. He merged his PRP into Congress in 2012.
On the other hand, Kalyan’s dispensation towards the CM is suggestive if Reddy was his bete noire. Unlike Nara Chandrababu Naidu, Kalyan is yet to meet the CM, though he suggested he would recently.
Coming back to the original question, time will only tell if the Tollywood legend will reenter politics, once bitten twice may not always be shy.