Hyderabad: Emboldened by the stunning Huzurabad victory, the Bharatiya Janata Party is all set to unveil its BC strategy for Telangana. Though the margin with which its candidate Eatala Rajender is expected to win will not be significant, the party is considering the Huzurabad victory as historic and a game-changer in Telangana politics.

Party sources said the leadership is now convinced that the saffron party has got a bankable regional leadership that can take on TRS in the next Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

The Telugu states have never had a Backward Caste (BC) Chief Minister. The Andhra state carved out of Madras state began with a Brahmin Chief Minister in 1953. The Hyderabad state was also headed by a Brahmin after its formation as the successor state of Nizam. Later the Reddys' era began with Neelam Sanjeevar Reddy becoming the CM of Andhra Pradesh in 1956. Reddys dominated the scene for quite a long time. Though in between an SC, a Brahmin, and a Velama became the Chief Minister for a brief period, the Congress has never allowed a BC leader to take the reins of the state.

The advent of TDP in 1982 successfully destroyed the Congress monopoly and heralded a family rule in the state like any other regional dynastic party. Curiously, the party was successful in winning the confidence of BCs across the state.

The situation post-Telangana also has not turned favorable for BCs who constitute a numerical majority in the two Telugu states.

The arrival of another regional party, Y.S Jagan Mohan Reddy's YSRCP, has completely eliminated the chances for any third family to become Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

In Telangana though, KCR had initially assured that he would appoint a Dalit as CM but later backed out. So, it's a pie in the sky to think of any leader other than one from KCR's clan as a Chief Minister from TRS. Similarly, Congress is also wary of raising the bogey of social justice given the enormous money and muscle power of TRS.

Against this backdrop, the BJP appears to have realized the potential of BCs following the victory of Dharmapuri Srinivas, Bandi Sanjay in the Lok Sabha elections. Eatala's entry into BJP has strengthened the party's resolve to try a BC card in Telangana. The Huzurabad victory is a clear signal to the party to go ahead, said the party sources.

Interestingly, indicating the mood of the party, senior BJP leader Perala Sekhar Rao said in a statement that Eatala's win in Huzurabad has brightened the chances for a BC leader to become Chief Minister of Telangana.

Issuing a statement even before the results are announced, Sekhar Rao, who is now south zone chairman of KVIC, said the BCs, who constitute 60 per cent of the state's population, had no faith in the leadership of Chief Minister KCR. "Huzurabad by-poll has demonstrated that BCs are looking at BJP as their beacon of hope. They lost faith in KCR. Eatala Rajender's reelection has brightened the chances for a BC leader to become Chief Minister of Telangana," he said in the statement.

Praising the leadership qualities of Eatala Rajender, Sekherjee, as he is known among the party cadre, said, "Eatala has conducted himself in a way that endeared himself closer to all sections of the people. Eatala's able mobilization skill, mature leadership, cordial relations with people helped BJP garner support of voters from every community."

Stating that Eatala's win in Huzurabad is a personal defeat for Chief Minister KCR, Sekherjee felt that KCR lost the moral right to continue as Chief Minister. "Corruption in the government, deploying money and police to subvert the democratic process, finally the dictatorial tendencies are responsible for the poor show of TRS in Huzurabad," he said.

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Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was the political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet's Telugu digital platform.

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