Rama Krishna Sangem
BJP leadership is struggling to reclaim its challenger position, or No 2 slot in Telangana. The 100 day action plan chalked out at its three day brainstorming sessions that concluded at the party office in Nampally in Hyderabad on July 11, Tuesday trained its guns on emerging stronger in the days to come. This is a combined strategy of both the central and state leadership to make the party a major force in both the assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
BJP’s top brass including Prakash Javadekar, election in charge of Telangana, Sunil Bansal, his aide, G Kishan Reddy, state unit president and all other senior leaders and elected representatives have participated in the deliberations that covered all aspects of the state politics. “For the first time in last few months, we had a frank and wide ranging discussions on all issues,” said a state executive member talking to Excel India on July 12, Wednesday.
In fact, BJP rose to No 2 slot, the challenger to the ruling BRS after Dubbaka assembly byelection, which it won easily wresting it from the former. Successive wins in Huzurabad assembly by-election and whopping rise of its tally in Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections from 2 to 48 has enhanced the party stature as the major rival to CM KCR. These wings helped BJP push Congress to the background, to the No 3 slot.
Munugode, Karnataka blows
However, what dealt a blow to the BJP’s sprint is its defeats in Munugode assembly by-election in November last year and interestingly, Karnataka assembly elections this May. On the face of it, these defeats should not affect the prospects of BJP. Because, in Munugode, BJP lost by a narrow 10,500 votes to BRS, and Congress lost its deposit. In Karnataka too, BJP retained its vote share of 36 per cent, while Congress grew to 42 per cent on JD(S) meltdown.
What harmed most BJP is its internal politics and failures. I will list out three major factors that took steam out of BJP sails in Telangana. First, the party failed to grow at the grassroots, or village or booth level, in spite of Dubbaka, Huzurabad and GHMC wins. Though there has been enough encouragement from the Delhi leadership, the state BJP leaders remained complacent or laid back.
Second, is continued divisions within the party on the lines of – old timers vs new comers or late entrants, forward castes vs OBCs or those who are close to the central party office-bearers vs those who are not, etc. Any amount of efforts by the top leaders like Home Minister Amit Shah and president JP Nadda, these groupings remained intact. Of course, they won’t fight openly, but also won’t unite wholeheartedly.
Third, and most importantly, BJP failed to develop its own candidates on all 119 assembly seats. This I have written earlier too. In the last two years, the party could only get solid leaders in only 15- 20 seats, while in another 20-25 places they depended on defections from BRS and Congress. Unfortunately, they couldn’t attract these 20-25 leaders from outside.
Both Shah and Nadda were unhappy over the state leaders failing to get defectors like Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and Jupally Krishna Rao, who recently joined Congress. When the national leaders asked state leaders, they started blame game – some blaming till recent state president and MP Bandi Sanjay for it while others. A stage has come when the top leaders sensed some senior leaders might leave the party, unless state leadership is changed.
This led to appointment of Union Minister Kishan Reddy as the state president and Sanjay might be taken into the central ministry, in a shuffle expected in a couple of days. Ironically, neither Kishan Reddy nor Sanjay are happy over the shake up. The national leadership is keen on making BJP at least the No 2 party in Telangana, though they say they will come to power.
The 100 days action plan is aimed at this. Still, the plan lays emphasis on the rallies of top leaders like PM Modi, Shah and Nadda, in all 17 LS seats. They will hold meetings in each of 119 assembly segments and thousands of booth level contact sessions. To make it a success, BJP state unit needs to develop solid leadership in every assembly constituency, who can develop his or her own network at the booth level.