VIJAYAWADA: Embarrassing the ruling Telugu Desam, Jana Sena chief and actor Pawan Kalyan posed several questions to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on land pooling for construction of the capital city, during his tour of villages in the capital region in Guntur district on Thursday.
Pawan, who had promised Naidu at a meeting with him in Hyderabad a few days ago that he would convince the recalcitrant farmers of the need to part with their lands, did a volte-face and declared that he would go on a fast-unto-death if the government tried to take the lands of unwilling farmers by invoking the Land Acquisition Act.
Pawan Kalyan, who is close to the BJP and who campaigned for the TDP-BJP combine in the general elections last year, made a whirlwind tour of Undavalli, Errabalem, Bethapudi and Thullur in the capital region and spent considerable time interacting with farmers and women there. At all the villages he stopped, his fans turned up in huge numbers, making crowd control difficult for the police and his personal security personnel.
Pawan Kalyan had curd rice offered by a woman at Bethapudi as his fans went into a frenzy. In Errabalem, a woman planted a kiss on his cheek. He took the uppercloth of a farmer and wiped his face.
But the film actor’s tour did not go down well with the Telugu Desam leaders who expected that he would bat for them.
When he began making lofty statements at his first public meeting that he would not tolerate if land was taken against the will of the farmers, it became clear that Pawan Kalyan was not on their side.
As hushed silence descended on the TDP, the actor kept shouting demands wanting to know if it was possible to build a city like Singapore on Krishna river bank and that he plain did not know how long it would take. “Even if the government secures the land, is it possible to get investments for such a vast extent of 35,000 acres?” he asked. “The land belongs to people, it is not good if people revolt against the government. For the sake of construction of capital, it is not proper for the government to ruin the lives of farmers,” he said. “Please do not harm farmers. If necessary, go after those who had helped themselves to public money and make them shell it out. This could be used for capital construction,” he said.
Referring to his campaign for BJP-TDP, he said that though he sought support for them, he was against acquisition of lands from unwilling farmers.
At Bethapudi, where farmers recently organised a protest demanding that Pawan Kalyan should come and protect their lands, he had interaction with the farmers. “It is not proper to convert artificially villages into towns,” he said.
Referring to special category status for AP, the Jana Sena chief said at Thullur that it pained him to learn that it was not coming through. If necessary he would go to Delhi to seek the status and funds but would not prostrate before the rulers.
Pawan’s Power Points
I will go on fast-unto-death If land is acquired against the will of farmers
Do we need a city like Singapore for AP?
Is 33,000 acres necessary for capital construction?
In my opinion, 8,000 acres is enough
Spare unwilling farmers. Let those who looted public money cough it up
Govt could take land just enough for laying roads
I doubt if capital would be in place even in 20 years. Putrajaya took 10 years
I am pained to learn that special category status is not coming through. I may visit Delhi to seek additional funds for the state but will not prostrate before the Centre at the cost of self-respect of Telugu people.