Joining in the heated political atmosphere in the run-up to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections, actor Prakash Raj stoked a controversy by calling actor and Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan a “chameleon". The statement from the actor came against the backdrop of the Jana Sena's surprising electoral alliance with the BJP in GHMC polls, during an interview with Telugu news channel TV9.
In Mukha-Mukhi (Face to Face) show, hosted by journalist Murali Krishna, Prakash Raj made bold statements while declaring his support to the K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) led TRS party in the GHMC polls.
When asked about Pawan Kalyan's support to BJP in the elections and withdrawal of candidates from the contest, Prakash Raj said that he was "disappointed" with Pawan Kalyan's move. He said, “I really don't understand what happened to him, I'm very disappointed. You (Pawan Kalyan) are a leader by yourself, you have a party (Jana Sena), I wonder why you are looking up/pointing at another leader."
He further said that Pawan Kalyan has not considered the BJP's share and his party's vote share in the last elections and is riding on Narendra Modi's BJP. The actor also said that Pawan supported BJP by praising them as a "wonder" in 2014 but five years later, distanced himself saying they have betrayed and is now again seeing the BJP as a leader.
He said, "If he is changing three-four times, isn't he a chameleon (Oosaravelli)?” While referring to Pawan's claims of alliance with the BJP for the sake of larger national interest, Prakash Raj said, "I wonder you believe they are doing that in this election, what are they talking about?”
Prakash Raj also suggested that Pawan Kalyan should join the BJP instead of riding on its shoulders, while stating that the BJP needs 1000 births before rivalling KCR.
Though Pawan's Jana Sena had initially roped in the candidates for the GHMC elections, it has asked its candidates to withdraw their nominations for the sake of "larger interest".
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However, Pawan's brother Nagababu who is also an actor, responded strongly to Prakash Raj. He said that every useless person is criticising Jana Sena leader Pawan Kalyan, while stating that there are "larger interests" and party's interests lie in Jana Sena supporting the BJP in GHMC elections.
Nagababu also said that he understood Prakash Raj's political oscillation when he failed to answer BJP leader Subramany Swamy in a debate. He has also asked Prakash Raj to be a good human before criticising an "unselfish leader" like Pawan Kalyan, while accusing him of harassing cinema producers for money.