In one state, it broke its alliance with the old partner and in the other, it has been maintaining friendly ties. The BJP, which is now eyeing to make inroads in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana on its own strength, is strategising to utilise those leaders who defected from the Congress and joined the party after the bifurcation of the state in 2014. The plan is to go aggressive against the ruling parties in both the states.
In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP leadership would bank on the battery of experienced leaders who joined the party in 2014 but were sidelined owing to the BJP’s alliance with the TDP, said sources. As there was a TDP-led coalition in power, the TDP dominated the political scene and decisions, said a senior BJP leader involved with the party’s strategising in the two states. BJP leaders pointed out that a group of former Congress leaders, like Kanna Lakshminarayana, K Sambasiva Rao and D Purandareswar, who enjoy popular support and have won elections, remain unutilised. Leaders in Andhra Pradesh have been claiming that the bifurcation was “injustice” to the state.
The BJP, which fought the 2014 election in alliance with the TDP, had won nine seats in the assembly (4.13 per cent votes) and three Lok Sabha seats in the united Andhra Pradesh. The new states were created on June 2, 2014. However, according to a BJP leader from Andhra Pradesh, the BJP has already missed the golden chance for coming up as a force to reckon with. In 2014, its prospects to come up as an alternative was bright.
Despite the presence of TDP and YSRCP, people had goodwill towards the BJP, as they were disappointed with the Congress. But the party was too busy with national politics and Uttar Pradesh politics to focus on Andhra Pradesh, said a leader who joined the BJP in 2014. Another party leader added that the BJP still faces the issue of lack of leadership in the state. (Vice-President) M Venkaiah Naidu was the only leader who was a known face in the state although he did not have a constituency. Besides, the TDP never let the BJP grow in the state, he said.
Things have now become tougher for the BJP as the TDP has succeeded, to an extent, in spreading that the BJP government at the centre had done injustice to the state. So it is unlikely to garner an impressive support from here, the BJP leader admitted. The BJP at the Centre may have enjoyed the tacit support of the TRS in Parliament, but the party is now determined to go on an offensive against Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao. The party will highlight the charges of corruption against the government and the fact that he and his family have misused power. Five of his family members are in the government and top posts in the party, said the BJP leader.
Moreover, KCR had announced that he would make a scheduled caste leader the chief minister but he forgot about it when the state was formed. Charges of corruption have been alleged in the implementation of Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya. The BJP will be focussed on them during our campaign against the government and the chief minister’s family, the leader said.