iconimg Saturday, September 05, 2015

Prasad Nichenametla, Hindustan Times
Hyderabad, September 30, 2013
State: Andhra Pradesh
Best poll performance:
Lok Sabha: 7 out of 42 seats (1999)
Assembly: 12 out of 294 seats (1999)

Srinivasa Reddy was in Hyderabad to visit a relative, but wanted to see the BJP’s PM candidate. “I heard a lot about Modi and his development in Gujarat. I believe he is a strong leader,” Reddy (50), a resident of Nellore, told HT as he walked towards the Lal Bahadur Stadium, where the BJP leader addressed a youth rally on August 11.

It is people like Reddy and places like Nellore that the saffron party is looking to capitalise on. “Brand Modi is gaining momentum in the south and the voters here would spring a surprise,” said former BJP president Venkaiah Naidu, who is also from Nellore.

Modi’s popularity is reassuring but perhaps not enough to win the BJP seats on its own. Hence the talk of a pact with one-time partner, the TDP. The alliance had brought the BJP seven seats in 1999, its best performance in the state, which has 42 MPs.