It was a little over eight months ago that Kannada superstar Upendra, who had aimed to create a huge splash in the political scenario just before the Karnataka assembly elections, had to bow out of the very political outfit that he had created.
And it took about six more months for him to launch another political party – this time almost singlehandedly.
Upendra was virtually forced to resign from the Karnataka Pragnyavanta Janata Party (KPJP) in early March this year, following squabbles and rebellion within the party. The aim of setting up the party – based on the concept of ‘Prajaakeeya’ or power at the hands of the people, was to upend the then prevailing political equations just before the state Assembly elections. The party was more or less loosely based on the ideology of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) where the actor turned politician had pledged to weed out corruption and nepotism from the political and governmental system. Ironically, he had to face the internal rebellion within the party on the same charges of nepotism after he had appointed his wife and brother as top party functionaries which had upset many of his followers.
In a recent tweet, the Kannada actor announced the date of the formal launch of his new political party which has been registered with the Election Commission of India as “Uttama Prajaakeeya Party” (UPP).
He tweeted: “To bring a complete change through “Prajaakeeya”a new manifesto based ART of Governance (Accountability, Responsibility, Transparency) we are officially launching “Uttama Prajaakeeya Party” (UPP) in my residence on 18-09-18 at 10.30 AM. Please join us.” And signed off as Uppi
Earlier on May 10th this year, a couple of months after he was forced out of KPJP – the political party he had first formed, the new party was formally registered with the ECI. At that time, the actor had reiterated that this new political outfit would work towards “changing Raajaakeeya to Prajaaakeeya” or the transfer of real power from politicians to the people.
In March, when Upendra had announced his departure from the KPJP, there were speculations that he would be joining the BJP just ahead of a crucial assembly election. But that possibility has been soon dispersed by Upendra saying: “I will form another political party. I will continue in politics. But I am not joining the BJP.”
The Facebook page of the older party launched by Upendra states that the mission of the political exploit was to create transparency in the Karnataka government. That has also been carried forward as the mission for the newly formed political party by him that aims to attaining transparency, accountability and taking of responsibility for actions of the party.
This also has prompted many political analysts to lay comparison of Upendra’s efforts to that by Arvind Kejriwal, credited to forming the Aam Aadmi Party of AAP as it is popularly known. The formation of AAP was a hugely successful ‘dharna’ at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi which was part of an anti corruption movement by Anna Hazare and Kejriwal was at the forefront of that agitation. There was huge public response to this effort when it happened in 2011/12 which crystallized the idea of the formation of a political party. However, people like Hazare did not join the party and after its formation and it winning the Delhi Assembly elections in 2013, there was infighting and allegations of nepotism and dictatorship against Kejriwal from within the party – similar to what Upendra faced within his own political party.
However, the similarities end there, as Kejriwal managed to force the dissenters like Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav – both founding members of AAP, to resign and leave the party, with Kejriwal himself becoming the chief minister of Delhi.
But while Upendra had claimed that coming to power and winning assembly elections of 2018 were not the primary aims of his forming the party, it remains to be seen whether he can emulate the AAP achievement with his latest political venture with the launch of the Uttama Prajaakeeya Party.