Allu Arjun vs Pawan Kalyan: Andhra Assembly elections creates a schism in actors’ fan base

Differences between Allu Arjun and Pawan Kalyan reached a flash point when the former campaigned for the victory of a YSRCP candidate.

ByRama Mandava

Published Jul 06, 2024 | 9:00 AM Updated Jul 06, 2024 | 12:03 PM

Allu Arjun vs Pawan Kalyan: Andhra Assembly elections creates a schism in actors' fan base

In an interesting development, the victory of actor-turned politician Pawan Kalyan, whose Jana Sena – part of the TDP-led NDA ruling Andhra Pradesh – appears to have driven a wedge between his fans and fans of actor Allu Arjun.

A parallel is being drawn on the long-standing differences between the fans of Allu Arjun and Pawan Kalyan. Interestingly, both Allu Arjun and Jr NTR are good friends.

The differences between Allu Arjun and Pawan Kalyan reached a flash point when the former campaigned for the victory of YSRCP candidate Silpa Ravichandra Kishore Reddy for Nandyal Assembly seat in the recent Assembly elections at a time when Pawan Kalyan is aligned with Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Though the key personalities never clashed, the rivalry between fans of celebrities Allu Arjun and Pawan Kalyan was seen expressed in the form of trolling on social media platforms.

Also Read: Former YSRCP MLA J Sudhakar arrested in Andhra for allegedly raping minor

Jr NTR’s soft corner for YSRCP

However, it is well known that Arjun and Jr NTR are the on the same page and that they have a soft corner for the YSRCP. Even during his college days, Jr NTR had a good relationship with YSRCP former minister Kodali Nani. In fact, Nani was a staunch supporter of Nandamuri Harikrishna, Jr NTR’s father.

When Jr NTR was doing his intermediate course at the Vignan College in Guntur district, it was Nani who used to take care of him on instructions from Harikrishna. Even now, both Nani and Jr NTR have an emotional bonding.

Nani, who is a vociferous critic of Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh wants NTR to emerge as a great leader. He actually sees a good future for him in the BJP as the Andhra CM would not allow his growth if he joins the TDP. Chandrababu Naidu is keen on promoting his son Lokesh as his successor.

Nani used to say that Jr NTR – a film actor with pan India image who can deliver explosive speeches in public meetings in several languages and who has fans in multitudes – was the right bet for the BJP if the party wanted to spread its footprint in Andhra Pradesh and the rest of south India. But Jr NTR focused only on movies, showing little interest in politics.

Parallelly, the bond between Pawan Kalyan and Chandrababu Naidu grew strong ahead of the 2014 Assembly elections. Pawan Kalyan, brother “mega star” Chiranjeevi, had worked in building the organisation for Praja Rajyam party that Chiranjeevi set up ahead of 2009 Assembly elections. In fact, he was the invisible force behind Praja Rajyam.

It was around when Allu Arvind’s son Arjun was creating a flutter in the films and incidentally, Allu Arvind is Chiranjeevi’s father-in-law.

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Allu Arjun vs Pawan Kalyan

Eventually, the distance between Arjun and Pawan Kalyan, who has the full backing of his elder brother Chiranjeevi, began growing. It started looking like a group in Tollywood was supporting Jr NTR and Arjun who had a soft corner for YSRCP, while another group was extending support to Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, who was close to Chandrababu Naidu. The silence of Arjun or Jr NTR when Naidu was going through a tough time under YSRCP dispensation had further riled Pawan Kalyan’s fans.

Some instances, though outwardly innocuous, like promoting Nandamuri Balakrishna, who is related to Chandrababu Naidu, on Aha OTT platform (with Allu Arjun as brand ambassador) further increased the divide between Chandrababu Naidu and Pawan Kalyan on one side and Allu Arjun who was in the YSRCP camp.

Arjun is understood to have deliberately decided to campaign for YSRCP nominee Silpa Ravichandra Kishore Reddy in 2024 Assembly elections, which ruffled the feelings of Pawan Kalyan fans, who said that they would boycott Pushpa II if Arjun continues to work at cross purposes of Jana Sena chief.

What rankled Junior NTR’s fans most was when he was made to sit in the gallery at the time of swearing in of Chandrababu Naidu as the CM of the truncated state of Andhra in 2014, while Pawan Kalyan hogged the limelight.

Though the differences are not insurmountable, neither camp is taking any initiative to douse the sparks that keep flying and threaten to erupt into a major fire.

Now, in the see-saw battle, Naidu and Pawan Kalyan are on the rise, while Arjun, for the time being, is on a down swing. After the TDP-led coalition came to power in the state, entire film industry has started backing them and it may not bode well for Arjun or Jr NTR.

(Edited by Neena) 

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