Hyderabad: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah will visit Hyderabad on Friday, when he is expected to meet with state-level leaders, take stock of the political situation in the state, and chalk out a strategy for the party in Telangana for the 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

However, the most interesting part of Shah’s visit will be his meeting with Ramoji Rao, owner of the ETV group that runs the Telugu newspaper Eenadu. Rao is considered to be close to Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP’s) top leadership and Eenadu is one of the highest circulated vernacular newspapers in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

State-level BJP leaders are heaving a sigh of relief as Shah had last visited Telangana in May last year and this had left them in a quandary about the road map for the 2019 elections.

“After landing in Hyderabad, Shah will first meet senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders from Telangana and review the performance of the local BJP unit," said a state-level BJP leader on condition of anonymity.

After the meeting with RSS leaders, Shah will proceed to the local BJP office in Hyderabad and conduct meetings with party’s state unit. He is expected to review Telangana BJP president K. Laxman’s ongoing Praja Chaitanya Yatra across the state.

“His meeting with Ramoji Rao will be significant (as Rao is also considered to be influential) for Andhra Pradesh," stated another BJP leader, who did not want to be quoted.

Shah will land at Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport at 10am and will address party workers, after which he will proceed for his scheduled meetings, said Telangana BJP spokesperson A. Rakesh Reddy.

Shah’s last meeting resulted in him and Telangana chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi president K. Chandrashekar Rao locking horns. Rao had found fault with Shah’s claims that the Telangana government was not utilizing money the centre had given for various programmes.

During his Telangana visit in May, there was talk of the BJP planning to seriously contest the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which is currently represented by the All India Majilis-e-Ittihadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi. Shah had visited parts of Nalgonda district as part of his tour.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy, however, said that the meeting between Ramoji Rao and Shah is not surprising, given that the former and the BJP have been sharing a good rapport from the last three decades.

“This association is very old. For BJP, Andhra is a worrying factor. Their discussion could be on the social situation and not just the political scenario in Andhra Pradesh," Reddy said.

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