Telangana BJP aims big to poach on leaders of other parties

Hyderabad, July 6 Buoyed by the national executive committee meeting and the public meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the weekend, the BJP in Telangana is now focusing on poaching leaders of other political parties.

The saffron party has formed a committee to lure the leaders from other parties, especially ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Former minister Eatala Rajender, who had switched loyalties to BJP last year after being dropped from the state Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, is heading the committee.

Rajender, who was re-elected from Huzurabad Assembly constituency late last year on BJP ticket, has been tasked with the responsibility of holding talks with leaders of other parties and inviting them to join saffron camp.

The former minister, who was associated with TRS since its inception two decades ago, is said to be in touch with some TRS leaders who are unhappy with CM KCR’s style of functioning.

Though Rajender’s resignation from TRS and his joining of BJP was expected to bring many TRS leaders to the saffron camp, this has not happened. However, the BJP leaders are now hopeful that with the central leadership focusing on Telangana, the fence-sitters will now be more willing to switch sides.

The Vijaya Sankalpa Sabha organised by the BJP on Sunday at the end of two-day national executive saw former minister Konda Vishweshwar Reddy joining the BJP.

Reddy, one of the richest politicians in India, was quickly appointed a member of the committee to lure leaders from other parties. He exuded confidence on Wednesday that he would bring one leader to BJP every month.

“BJP has appointed me on an appropriate committee. I will bring one leader to the party every month,” said Reddy, who quit the Congress party last year. He was with TRS till 2018.

Vishweshwar Reddy had fought and won the Lok Sabha elections from Chevella on TRS ticket in 2014. During his term, he was one of the richest serving MPs.

An engineer and entrepreneur, Vishweshwar Reddy is husband of Sangita Reddy, managing director of Apollo Hospitals. HeAhad declared assets worth Rs 895 crore in the 2019 elections.

After resigning from the Congress, he had hinted at floating a new regional party with an aim to defeat TRS in the 2023 Assembly elections.

He was planning to bring together leaders of various smaller parties and even those TRS leaders who are unhappy with CM KCR to form an alternative.

However, he now feels that a new party has no scope in Telangana. He said only BJP can take on TRS. The former MP believes that only the saffron party can stop KCR.

BJP’s state president Bandi Sanjay felicitated Vishweshwar Reddy, when the latter visited the party office on Wednesday.

The national executive and success of the public meeting has boosted the morale of the party, which is now drawing a new strategy to strengthen the organization at the grass root level ahead of 2023 elections.

The saffron party is confident of capturing power in the state in 2023 and the resolution passed at the national executive generated euphoria in the party ranks.

The state leadership of BJP is now looking to take swift steps to implement the resolution of the national executive and convey its message to people across the state that a double-engine government can fast track Telangana’s development.

As part of its strategy, BJP is planning a series of visits by union ministers to the state. They will visit Lok Sabha constituencies, spending at least two nights in each constituency and meeting party leaders and workers during the day.

All 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana have been divided into four clusters — Adilabad, Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar and Warangal. Four central ministers have been made in-charge of the clusters.

Union Minister for Fisheries Parshottam Kohodabhai Rupala will be in-charge of Adilabad cluster while minister for parliamentary affairs Prahlad Joshi will lead the outreach initiative in Hyderabad cluster.

Minister for heavy industries Mahendra Nath Pandey will be in-charge for Mahabubnagar cluster while the Warangal cluster will be headed by Minister of state for north-eastern region B.L. Verma.

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