Hyderabad: With political circles abuzz with talk that a good chunk of senior TRS leaders are likely to join the BJP, the latter is however likely to wait it out till the upcoming municipal polls to take a decision on the supposed joinings. A senior BJP leader said that if his party managed to win about 30 to 40% of the 142 municipalities that go to polls, it will automatically draw people from the TRS who will see some scope in shifting.
Last week, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Shakeel Ahmed from the Bodhan seat met Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP from the Nizamabad constituency D. Arvind on 12 September, sparking rumours that the former is likely to join the BJP. However, so far nothing has been announced. Soon after the rendezvous, political circles were also abuzz with talk that about seven more TRS leaders including sitting MLAs, would to join the BJP.
“We are confident of giving the TRS a serious fight in the upcoming municipal polls, and win at least 30-40% of the (142) municipalities. If we perform well, then it will encourage leaders from the TRS to join us," said the BJP leader, who did not want to be quoted. The municipal elections in the state were to be held in August itself, but the dates have so far not been announced by the Telangana State Election Commission.
However, BJP chief spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said that the talk of TRS leaders joining the BJP holds no ground, as those whose names are doing rounds in political circles are just looking to bargain with TRS supremo and Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR). “What will Shakeel do in the BJP? That is why we did not make any issue about it. We don’t have a poaching plan at this point of time. What we are looking to do is to strengthen at the ground level, and are not looking to break the TRS," he told Mint.
He added that KCR is delaying the announcement of the municipal polls, as he is afraid that the BJP has gained popularity after the Centre repealed Article 370 of the constitution (which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir). “For the TRS, the municipal elections is a do-or-die matter," Krishna Saagar Rao stated.
The meeting between Ahmed and Arvind came at a time when some senior TRS were reportedly dissatisfied over being denied cabinet berths. The unhappy TRS leaders include former home minister Nayini Narsimha Reddy and former deputy chief minister T. Rajaiah, both of whom made their displeasure public, though Reddy later retracted his stance saying that there were no problems in the TRS.
Earlier this month, there was talk in TRS circles that state health minister Eatala Rajender would lose his cabinet berth (before the expansion by KCR on September 8). The minister, however, responded by saying in public, “we are the owners of the pink flag (TRS flag)". Rajender’s name was not dropped during the expansion.
“None of the statements being made now will have any weight in the final scheme of things. Everyday BJP leaders say that they are taking in hundreds of leaders in both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, so why won’t take the TRS leaders in now as well? The BJP is definitely trying to rope people in. TRS will have to keeps its stock value high, only then its capital won’t fall. As long as KCR doesn’t fall in any pit, things will be fine for him," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.