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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Telangana Congress, TDP leaders drift to the BJP post Article-370 ‘wave’

A large number of leaders from the Congress and the TDP are set to join the BJP at a massive public rally by party working president J P Nadda in Hyderabad on August 18. Former Medak MP and actress Vijayashanti could be one of them.

india Updated: Aug 14, 2019 18:11 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
BJP is hoping to gain further ground in Telangana after its impressive showing in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.
BJP is hoping to gain further ground in Telangana after its impressive showing in the Lok Sabha elections in the state.(PTI)
         

In an all out move to repeat its impressive Lok Sabha performance in Telangana in the upcoming municipal elections, the Bharatiya Janta Party is wooing potential leaders from other parties, in a step-by-step consolidation of its plan to win 2023 assembly elections in the state.

Elections to 132 municipalities and 13 municipal corporations are likely to be held next month and the BJP is hopeful of riding a “positive wave” of euphoria following the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, said BJP state president K Laxman.

“The bold step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah has created a positive wave for the BJP in Telangana,” Laxman said.

As part of its strategy, the BJP is targeting leaders, particularly from the Congress and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), who are looking for opportunities outside their parties to sustain their political careers.

A large number of leaders from these two parties are set to join the BJP at a massive public rally by BJP working president J P Nadda in Hyderabad on August 18. Former MP from Medak and actress Vijayashanti is one of them, says a BJP leader familiar with the development.

“She was originally from the BJP, but later joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and from there she switched over to the Congress. Now, she is keen on returning to the BJP,” he said.

Several TDP leaders, including Khammam district TDP president Koneru Satyanarayana and former TDP women’s wing vice-president Palwai Rajani Kumari, besides several ex-MLAs are expected to join the BJP at the August 18 rally.

BJP’s president in Telangana K Laxman said both the TDP and the Congress were diminishing forces in the state, unable to play a strong opposition to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, therefore making people look elsewhere.

“Even the people have lost faith in that party, as they are not sure if even they elect the Congress MLAs, there is no guarantee that they would not join the TRS later,” K Laxman said.

The BJP is wooing leaders from Dalit and OBC communities that have traditionally supported the Congress and the TDP. Last week, senior Dalit leader and former Congress MP Gaddam Vivekanand joined the BJP in party president Amit Shah’s presence.

While another popular Dalit leader and former TDP minister from Bhongir, Mothkupalli Narasimhulu has announced joining the BJP; talks are on with another senior Dalit leader from Medak, who was a deputy chief minister in the Congress government.

The BJP, which won just one MLA seat in the 119-member assembly and lost deposits in as many as 103 seats in the December 7 assembly elections, made a remarkable comeback in the Lok Sabha elections in April by winning four out of the 17 seats in Telangana.

The Congress, however, downplayed BJP prospects in Telangana.

“The party has absolutely no strength on its own in Telangana. It was rejected in the assembly and local body elections by the people. It is only playing a second fiddle to the TRS,” former MP and Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) vice-president Mallu Ravi said.

TRS MLA Balka Suman also lashed out claiming the BJP government at the Centre had “done nothing” for the state in the last five years and was “day-dreaming” of coming to power in Telangana

First Published: Aug 14, 2019 18:11 IST