Politics

Peninsular Pitch In Andhra, BJP Bets on Modi, Pawan Kalyan’s Star Power, Rivalry

From seven states in 2014 to seventeen states in 2022, the BJP’s influence has expanded beyond traditional strongholds into new forts such as the Northeast. However, the Wall of Vindhyas has proven to be particularly impenetrable thus far. News18 examines the saffron party’s fresh effort for political victory in southern India in this special series on the BJP’s Peninsular Pitch.

In Part 3 of the series, we examine the BJP’s strategy for Andhra Pradesh, a more difficult terrain than Telangana, as it seeks to establish itself as the primary alternative to the YSRCP and TDP.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was forced to play second fiddle to the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh until 2018 — the year the Nara Chandrababu Naidu-led outfit quit the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) — the BJP is making a concerted effort to strengthen its organization in the state.

The party’s leaders believe the party has made strides in the southern state, stating that the next Assembly elections in 2024 will include a triangular contest.

By avoiding reliance on a prominent regional party and putting an end to infighting, the BJP is attempting to establish itself as the primary option to regional giants like as the ruling Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) and the TDP.

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It intends to get on board a strong regional player ahead of the next elections as part of its strategy. Rather of depending heavily on its existing cadre, which includes a sizable number of TDP sympathizers, the BJP formed an alliance with Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party. The BJP seeks to shed the ‘outsider’ label by capitalizing on Kalyan’s popularity in the state.

While Kalyan may have been more aligned with the opposition and whispers of him defecting continue to circulate, the BJP feels that the alliance with him is not temporary.

PM Modi
PM Modi

V Muraleedharan, the BJP’s Andhra Pradesh in-charge, told News18.com that Pawan Kalyan is a member of the NDA, but acknowledged the need for improved collaboration with him.

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“The BJP and Kalyan must work cooperatively. I maintain contact with him on a regular basis, and we are working on developing a collaborative plan of action. We will go together when it is ready,” the BJP leader stated.

Muraleedharan is also the Union Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, and works closely with all parties in Parliament, including the YSRCP, to ensure that business is conducted efficiently.

“In Andhra, floor coordination is distinct from politics. I will not combine the two. I keep Parliamentary floor coordination apart from Andhra politics. When I visit the state, I am unafraid to speak my mind against the government,” the BJP leader clarified.

Along with forging agreements with regional parties, the BJP has taken to the streets to exert pressure on the YSRCP government over stalled projects. The BJP in the state has taken up the subject of projects that remain dormant from the period of Chandrababu Naidu and YS Rajasekhara Reddy and is organizing yatras to garner support.

Sunil Deodhar, the BJP’s national secretary and co-incharge in Andhra, expressed optimism in the party’s rise as a force in the state, saying, “It may take months or years, but we will emerge as an alternative to the politics of corruption and appeasement in this state.”

BRAND BANKING MODI

BJP leaders, betting heavily on his popularity, think that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the party’s face in the state.

“There was an attempt to destroy Brand Modi in 2019, but we will not let it to happen again,” BJP Rajya Sabha member GVL Narasimha Rao declared.

While many leaders acknowledge that the saffron party is yet to be accepted as a major challenger in the state, the party has taken to the streets to oppose issues that threaten the YSRCP and TDP’s election prospects equally.

“PM Modi’s national image has improved, and people are aware that we are fighting both the TDP and the YSRCP tooth and nail. The negative sentiment toward us has decreased, and we have been able to reveal the YSRCP and TDP’s fabricated propaganda against us,” Deodhar stated.

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