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Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019

Behind BJP choosing Tamilisai as Telangana governor, a Tamil Nadu plan | Analysis

Tamilsai Soundararajan is the second BJP leader after former Kerala BJP chief Kumannam Rajasekharan to have been given a gubernatorial assignment when they were heading the party in their state.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2019 09:48 IST
Kumar Uttam
Kumar Uttam
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Tamilisai Soundararajan being felicitated by BJP supporters after appointed as a Telangana Governor in Chennai.
Tamilisai Soundararajan being felicitated by BJP supporters after appointed as a Telangana Governor in Chennai.(ANI Photo)
         

The elevation of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Tamil Nadu president Tamilsai Soundararajan as Telangana governor was part of the party’s strategy to expand its base in the southern state, where it hasn’t been able to leave a mark, but sees an opportunity when the two established political outfits, the AIADMK and the DMK, were struggling within, two BJP leaders said.

She is the second BJP leader after former Kerala BJP chief Kumannam Rajasekharan to have been given a gubernatorial assignment when they were heading the party in their state. Rajasekharan was appointed Mizoram governor in May 2008, but returned to Kerala in March this year to contest the Lok Sabha election.

There are two messages in Soundararajan shifting into the Raj Bhawan, the first BJP leader said.

The BJP was giving recognition to its southern leaders, despite not having much electoral success. Besides Soundararajan and Rajasekharan, the junior minister for external affairs, V Muraleedharan was brought to the Rajya Sabha from Maharashtra. Muraleedharan, too, headed Kerala BJP between 2010 and 2015.

“We hope the BJP will get recognition in southern India at some point in time when we are giving high places to leaders from the state, despite the BJP not getting much electoral success,” the first leader said.

Second, Soundararajan moving out of Tamil Nadu means the local unit will get a new leadership. The BJP could not acheive electoral victories under Soundararajan, and the is ready to invest in new leaders, even from outside. Names such as former AIADMK leader Nainar Nagenthran, who fought this Lok Sabha election from Ramnathapuram on BJP ticket, are doing the rounds as possible replacement to Soundararajan.

“The state will go to poll in 2021, and the BJP needs to bring in a new leadership,” the second leader said.

Soundarajan’s father is a former chief of Tamil Nadu Congress and she belongs to influential Nadar community. “Her exit had to be graceful,” the second leader said.

Political analyst Sidharth Mishra said the BJP strategy is to create some buzz with these appointments and lure opposition leaders. “The BJP has nothing much to offer to its leaders in states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu, where it has limited political base. In such case, Raj Bhawan assignments are also a message to leaders from opposition parties, who are already struggling to cope with the BJP’s domination of the political landscape,” said Mishra, president of the New Delhi-based Centre for Reforms, Development and Justice.