Look South: How BJP is shunning tag of cow belt party to win Telangana, AP

Victory in Dubbak, Huzurabad assembly by-elections, and 48 divisions out of 150 in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections in 2020 boosted the morale of the party in Telangana State.

By CR Gowri Shanker  Published on  23 Jun 2022 3:44 AM GMT
Look South: How BJP is shunning tag of cow belt party to win Telangana, AP

Hyderabad: `Look South' is the new mantra of the Bharatiya Janata Party to come to power in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and the other Southern States. The party has been aiming to expand in the South since 2017 but was partly successful.

BJP is in power in Karnataka and formed a coalition government in Puducherry.

Victory in Dubbak, Huzurabad assembly by-elections, and 48 divisions out of 150 in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections in 2020 boosted the morale of the party in Telangana State.

But BJP has a long way to go since it has only 3 seats in Telangana Assembly out of 119 in T Raja Singh (Goshamahal), Raghunandan Rao (Dubbak), and Etala Rajender (Huzurabad).

Yet BJP is going all out against the TRS government ever since the appointment of Bandi Sanjay as State Party Chief. The entry of Etala Rajender, once a close aide of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and former Finance, and Health Minister, gave a shot in the arm to the State BJP.

Union Home Amit Shah's one-to-one meeting with Etala Rajender in New Delhi assumes significance given the BJP's "Look South" agenda and ensuing BJP national executive meeting to be held in Hyderabad next month.

Etala Rajender won the Huzurabad bye polls taking on the might of TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and faced assigned land-grab cases.

Etala Rajender told Newsmeter that BJP aimed to expand in the South with a focus to win Telangana in 2023, Andhra Pradesh, and other Southern states.

"Plan is to protect BJP ruled Karnataka State, come to power in Telangana and other southern States. Amit Shah feels Telangana State should be a gateway for the expansion of the party in the South. Since AIADMK is sliding down in Tamil Nadu, the party is also focussing on Tamil Nadu. In Andhra Pradesh too, there is a strong anti-wave against Jagan Mohan Reddy. Since Telugu Desam is unable to match YSRCP, BJP should focus on it too," he said.

Asked about specifics of the meeting, he said the discussions were mostly on Telangana State. "He wants BJP to come to power in Telangana State. He took input and discussed a plan of action in this regard. Cant share more than this."

On the TRS government in Telangana, Etala Rajender remarked, "Note it down, people are in no mood to vote for TRS again."

He added, "There is a negative wave against Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his MLAs. He can change MLAs if there is a negative opinion against them, but when there is a negative opinion against the Chief Minister himself what will he do? There is negative opinion against all those behaving like Chakravarthis (kings)."

Taking a jibe at CM, he quipped," Didn't KCR tell party MLAs and leaders to work and focus in their respective constituencies and leave the issue of how to win, how to get votes, how to spend money, how to earn money…is my duty. "

The BJP National Executive meeting will discuss various national issues including the issues in Telangana State.

Though Amit Shah had set goals for BJP expansion in the South and party victory in Telangana in 2017 itself during his three-day tour of Nalgonda district, the party couldn't make much headway in the 2019 elections.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and BJP National president J P Nadda who will be in Hyderabad for the 3-day BJP national executive meeting for the first time will lay the road map for the party in the South. This will be the first BJP's key decision-making body meeting on July 2 and 3 outside New Delhi after a gap of 5 years.

Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states, and national party leaders will attend. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his recent visit to Hyderabad, lashed out at dynastic parties indirectly taking a dig at Congress, TRS, and other parties.

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