BJP looks to poach leaders in Telangana, to devise poll strategies during Amit Shah’s visit
Hyderabad: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national president Amit Shah will visit Telangana for three days in September. Unlike his last visit in May, Shah will not be touring any district this time, but will camp in Hyderabad.
Party leaders said that as part of the BJP’s 2019 general elections’ preparations, it is trying to reach out to communities and is also looking to poach leaders from other parties.
Following Shah’s earlier visits, the BJP in Telangana successfully formed booth level committees in about 27,000 out of the total 32,000 polling stations across the state, which was one of its major electoral tasks for the 2019 general elections.
“Our national president will devise political strategies for the party. The BJP came to power in states like Assam for the first time after similar things were done there,” said Rakesh Reddy, state spokesperson for BJP.
A state-level BJP functionary, requesting not to be identified, said that Shah is going to review all the work done by the BJP over many months and will also hold discussions with state executive members and intellectuals. “He will discuss the party’s prospects with regard to the 2019 elections with outsiders as well, to understand the current political scenario,” he added.
At present, the BJP has five seats, all in and around Hyderabad, in the 119-member Telangana assembly. It won the seats in alliance with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) during the 2014 general elections. “We will not continue the alliance in 2019, because the TDP is seen as an Andhra party in Telangana. As of now, we are also looking to expand support from other communities like the Reddys, and Dalits, who have mostly been with parties like the Congress and TDP,” said the functionary.
The BJP has 35 strong candidates to contest in the 2019 assembly elections, he mentioned. The party is presently in talks to poach leaders from other parties like the TDP and the Congress. “We might even get some leaders from the TRS to join us, because they have an excess,” said the BJP functionary, and added that the BJP’s central leadership has been in touch with leaders from other parties from some months.
Leo Augustine, a former general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, said that the BJP will do anything to poach leaders from other parties.
“Ram Madhav himself said that the BJP is a political party which aspires to ultimately get into power through ‘cold-blooded means’. We are seeing what is happening in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat,” he stated, and added that in spite of its efforts, it will be difficult for the BJP to gain a foothold in the state.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee working president and Madira MLA Mallu Bhatti Vikram Marka however brushed aside Shah’s visit and said “There is no base for the BJP here, that is why trying to take some of the Congress leaders,” he added.