Pawan Kalyan Says 'Never Distanced Myself From BJP', Hints at Re-Alignment
Pawan Kalyan(Photo Credits: IANS)

Tirupati, December 4: Hinting at a possible re-alignment in Andhra Pradesh, actor-politician Pawan Kalyan on Wednesday said he had never distanced himself from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Jana Sena leader told reporters here that though he criticised the BJP on certain issues including the issue of special category status to the state, he never distanced himself from the party.

Pawan said that he likes BJP President and Union Home Minister Amit Shah because the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) was afraid of him. The actor had earlier said that politics needs strong leaders like Shah.

Indicating that he is moving close to the BJP, Pawan spoke about protection of Hindu dharma at a meeting with party leaders. He targeted Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government for allegedly promoting religious conversions.

He said people in Tirupati were concerned over proselytisation in the temple town. "Who is encouraging mass conversions in the state," he asked.

BJP leaders have been targeting Jagan Mohan Reddy, a Christian, for what they called hurting religious sentiments of Hindus through various controversial moves.

Pawan also alleged that YSRCP public representatives were harassing industrialists. "If you threaten a company like Kia, who will come to the state?" he asked.

He also remarked that YSRCP leaders should thank him for not contesting the recent elections in alliance with the BJP and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). "If I had contested in alliance with them, you would not have come to power," he said.

The actor had campaigned for the TDP-BJP in 2014 and was believed to have played a key role in the alliance coming to power in the state. He later distanced himself from both the parties for going back on the word to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh. The TDP had also severed ties with the BJP in 2017.

In the elections held in April, the YSRCP stormed to power with a massive majority in 175-member Assembly. Pawan's Jana Sena, which had contested in alliance with Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Left parties, could secure one seat. The TDP faced the worst drubbing with its tally coming down to 23 while the BJP drew a blank.

TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu has dropped hints recently that he is ready to once again join hands with the BJP.