Venugopal Rao Jana Sena Party Pawan Kalyan
Venugopal Rao © Getty Images (file photo)

Former India cricketer Venugopal Rao today took the political plunge and joined Jana Sena Party, founded by Telugu filmstar Pawan Kalyan. Rao, who made his ODI debut in 2005 against Sri Lanka, played 16 ODIs in his short career between July 2005 and May 2006. He also played in the Indian Premier League for Deccan Chargers, Delhi Daredevils and Sunrisers Hyderabad, and Ranji Trophy for Hyderabad and Andhra.

He met the Jana Sena Chief during the latter’s tour of Visakhapatnam today and joined the party. Former Chairman of BC Corporation Kona Tata Rao, industrialist Konathala Sitaram, educationist Mandava Ravi Kumar and many others also joined the party.

Speaking on the occasion, Kalyan said year 2019 would usher in a new political system in Andhra Pradesh as Jana Sena’s flag would fly high: “Jana Sainiks (people) are my strength and I will be at their service till my last breath. I supported the TDP-BJP combine in 2014 and did not contest the elections only to ensure stability (of the bifurcated state). I did not expect any political or personal gains out of it.”

Kalyan reiterated that the Jana Sena would contest all 175 Assembly seats in the state in 2019 and usher in a qualitative change.