VIJAYAWADA: Jana Sena chief and Telugu matinee idol Pawan Kalyan, who is now the x-factor in Andhra Pradesh politics, gave a surprise on Friday by announcing that he would hold a public meeting in Tirupati on Saturday. The decision caused a flutter in state politics, and equally surprisingly the administration expressed no objections to the shotgun decision, and gave him permission to hold the event.
The meeting, to be held in Indira Maidan, which can accommodate only about 5,000 people or so, is expected to focus on the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh, a livewire topic in the politics of the state.
This will be the star's first public meeting since the 2014 general election, and comes a day after he paid a high-visibility visit to the family of a fan who was murdered by supporters of another actor, NTR Junior.
Tirupati was also where Pawan Kalyan's brother K Chiranjeevi announced the formation of his short-lived party Praja Rajyam in August 2008.
Tirupati superintendent of police R Vijayalakshmi said the authorities were approached for permission on short notice, and were promised that the proceedings would be kept short, perhaps an hour or so.
Pawan Kalyan has of late been criticized for his silence on the issue of special category status. This move by him is being widely examined for political intent although the next election is still two years away.
One of Pawan Kalyan's aides indicated to New Indian Express that the actor's preoccupations currently are films and not politics. "He is very busy. He has about five films lined up. At least two of them are priority films. One is being produced by his close friend Sarat Marar and the other by Trivikram. Only after that will he be free to work full time in taking his party into the midst of the people." The meeting will also be examined for the signals it will send out on the star's stance on the issue of reservation for Kapus, a campaign being waged by senior Kapu leader Mudragada Padmanabham. Coincidentally, the Kapu patriarch's coterie meet today in Kakinada and discussed ways of taking their campaign forward, possibly by stepping up their agitation.
As a Kapu and a charismatic actor, Pawan Kalyan's political moves are much anticipated in the fluid balance of Andhra Pradesh politics.
"It is too early to hazard a guess since the elections are quite far way," said the actor's close aide. In Saturday's meeting itself, the film actor is likely to harp on the theme of all actors' fan clubs treating each other with respect, while leaving the political subtext of the meeting for the pundits to unravel.