Andhra Pradesh

Fine print of Pawan Kalyan’s defeat in Gajuwaka shocks Jana Sena

Beyond the shock of Pawan Kalyan’s defeat in Gajuwaka, it is the fine print of the loss that has shaken up the Jana Sena party. Pawan polled 58539 votes in Gajuwaka assembly constituency. But in the same assembly segment which is part of the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency, Jana Sena candidate, former CBI joint director, VV Lakshmi Narayana got 68572 votes. Which means 10033 Gajuwaka voters cross voted, plumping for Lakshmi Narayana in the EVM meant for Lok Sabha election but not voting for Pawan in the assembly election.

This is the reverse of what the Jana Sena strategy team expected in the run-up to the election. It thought that Pawan’s presence in Gajuwaka will not only give a fillip to Lakshmi Narayana’s campaign in Visakhapatnam but also the party’s other candidates in north coastal Andhra.

“The analysis of our performance in every assembly constituency is going on at the moment. We have to look closely at how voting happened in every segment,” VV Lakshmi Narayana told Filter Kaapi.

Pawan Kalyan with VV Lakshmi Narayana during the campaign

Pawan had good reasons to choose Gajuwaka for his electoral debut. One lakh people registered themselves as Jana Sena members in Gajuwaka. There was a significant Kapu community vote and the Left parties who were Jana Sena allies in this election, enjoyed support among the workers in the Vizag port industrial belt. Another factor was that in 2009, Pawan’s elder brother Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam had won Gajuwaka by a margin of over 17000 votes. Add to this, Pawan’s charisma and Jana Sena expected Gajuwaka to be a walk in the park.

Filter Kaapi believes three reasons upset Pawan’s bid for Gajuwaka. One, the impression that gained ground that should he also win from Bhimavaram, he will choose the constituency in West Godavari district over Gajuwaka. The reverse narrative was spread in Bhimavaram and Pawan ended up losing in both constituencies. 

Two, compared to the more robust and systematic campaign by the Telugu Desam and the YSR Congress, Pawan’s campaign was more raw energy and less strategy. Three, even taking into account the polling percentage, the one lakh membership may well have been an inflated figure, designed to entice Pawan to contest from Gajuwaka. The party would do well to pore through the list to find out how many members are genuine and how many fake. 

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