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Lok Sabha elections 2019: ‘BJP’s organisation didn’t grow due to pact with TDP,’ says Sunil Deodhar

In an interview, Sunil Deodhar said although PM Modi is popular in the southern state, there is a vacuum in terms of BJP’s leadership in Andhra Pradesh

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 21, 2019 05:25 IST
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Smriti Kak Ramachandran
Hindustan Times
Sunil Deodhar,Andhra Pradesh,TDP
BJP leader Sunil Deodhar at Patrakar Sangh, in Pune.(HT Photo)

The BJP in-charge for Andhra Pradesh, Sunil Deodhar, has said his party’s chances were affected because of its previous partnership with the TDP, which pulled out of the NDA last year over the denial of special category status to the state. In an interview with Smriti Kak Ramachandran, Deodhar said although PM Modi is popular in the southern state, there is a vacuum in terms of BJP’s leadership in Andhra Pradesh. Edited excerpts

Both TDP and YSR Congress have blamed BJP for not fulfiling the promise of granting special category status for Andhra.

The issue of granting special status to the state was made by both BJP and TDP when we were in alliance. It was jointly decided by CM Naidu and us that funds equivalent to what a special category state receives will be given.

So what led to the differences?

Naidu indulged in corruption; there was no delivery of schemes at the ground level; Amravati is one of the biggest example of a scam; there was land grabbing and construction of temporary structures.

Then why did the BJP not pull out of the alliance?

We could see the unrest on the ground, but we were bound by the alliance. When YSRC chief Jagan Mohan Reddy began the padyatra [to protest AP not being accorded special category status and corruption], our members began to relay the concerns to our state team that in turn informed the central leadership. It was only after Jagan raised the issue of lack of development and began to get attention that the CM decided to play victim and blamed BJP. Congress at the time of drafting the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 had not mentioned special category status. It was only under BJP government at Centre that 90% of work promised has been done in just five years.

Can there be another alliance?

We will contest in all 25 seats. PM Modi is a popular figure, but we will have a hard time to encash that as there are not enough local leaders on the ground. Because of partnering with TDP, BJP’s organisation did not grow on the ground... This alliance has been nuksaan dayak (harmful) for us and our chief Amit Shah has said there won’t be pact with TDP again.

First Published: Mar 21, 2019 05:25 IST

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