Decision On Alliance In AP 2 Months Before Elections: Amit Shah

Amit Shaw casually said that a decision regarding the alliance between the BJP and TDP for 2019 elections will be taken just two months ahead of polls.

New Delhi: BJP national president Amit Shah told journalists in an informal chat on Sunday evening at Hotel Ashoka that his party would decide on the question of having or not having alliance with the TDP in AP two months before general elections in 2019.

After GVL Narasimha Rao, national spokesman of BJP, finished a one and half hour presentation on the achievements of the NDA Government, Amit Shah and Union Information Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had dinner with the senior journalists and heads of media organisations who have been specially invited on the occasion of the Government headed by Narendra Modi completing three years.

Speaking off the record with the guests, Shah said his party would capture power in Karnataka, Telangana and other States in 2019 elections. When a journalist asked about the BJP’s strategy for Andhra Pradesh, Shah said the decision on the alliance will be taken two months before the elections. Venkaiah Naidu who was sitting on the right side of Amit Shah did not comment.

Answering a question on the outburst by Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR), Shah said KCR’s attack has given good publicity for his Telangana visit. By focusing his criticism on the BJP, KCR has made it clear that he was really concerned with the growing popularity of the BJP, Shah opined. He said KCR has made it clear that his main rival is the BJP and not the Congress. That itself is a gain for the party accrued from his three-day visit to Telangana. Amit Shah is acutely aware that there is no pan-Telangana leader in his party. Former party president Kishen Reddy has lost his  clout. First he differed with Venkaiah Naidu and then compromised with him by joining his camp once again. Kishen Reddy, an MLA representing Amberpet in Hyderabad city, is also the leader of the BJP legislative party. But he could not expand his or his party’s influence beyond Hyderabad.

Leaders like Muralidhar  Rao, national General Secretary of the party, could not utilise the opportunities provided by the positions they held to improve his clout and the party’s popularity. Rao has been given the charge of training the party cadres. He should have organised party training camps aggressively and brought national leaders to Telangana. Instead, he was spending his time and energies on unproductive activities.

Same kind of problems confronts the national president regarding AP unit as well. The party which won four Lok Sabha seats in the State earlier, had not grown under the leadership of the party’s AP unit’s president Haribabu. A staunch follower of Venkaiah Naidu, Haribabu has been content with the alliance with the TDP and sharing of power at the Centre and in the State. He did not take a single initiative to develop the party in all the thirteen districts. The booth level committee is a result of the initiative taken by the national president. It was implemented by the AP and Telangana units of the party. But there is precious little that both the units have done on their own to use Modi’s image and popularity to improve party’s presence.

Moreover, the BJP in AP is vertically divided with a major section being unhappy with Venkaiah Naidu. The Union Ministet is very close to Prime Minister Modi and Chief Minister Naidu. He had been a cementing force in the relationship between Modi and Naidu. Leaders like Somu Veerraju, Purandeswari and Kavuri Sambasiva Rao want the alliance with the TDP ended as soon as possible so that the party can grow independently. They also want the state party leadership to be changed. They presented their argument forcefully when Shah visited Vijayawada last week. They are waiting for reaction.

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