Hyderabad: After its experience in the recent Jharkhand Assembly elections, where it was trounced, the Bharatiya Janata Party is likely to focus on shoring up its ties with regional parties in south India, particularly in states ruled by anti-Congress parties such as the Telangana Rashtra Samithi in Telangana and YSRC in Andhra Pradesh.
The BJP has lost five state elections in the north, where traditionally its strength lies. In the south, it faces very strong regional parties and will need to depend on them in the future.
More importantly, about 80 Rajya Sabha members will retire by March next year, a majority of them from the BJP. While the BJP numbers in the Rajya Sabha will be decreasing, the TRS and YSRC strength will be increasing. The support of the two parties will become crucial to the BJP in the Upper House.
Against this backdrop, the BJP leadership may change its strategy and go soft on the TRS and the YSRC in order to get their support.
After the Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had sought to strengthen itself in both Telugu states and to emerge as an alternative to the ruling parties. But in Telangana the Congress, and in AP the Telugu Desam, are stronger than the BJP. When the BJP is losing its stronghold in northern states it is impossible to strengthen itself in the southern states, particularly in Telangana and AP, where it is very weak. In the future also, in Lok Sabha elections, the support of the TRS and YSRC will be important to the BJP to check the Congress at the centre.
Several demands of both Telugu states are pending with the Centre. Of the two ruling parties in these states, the BJP is more partial to the YSRC. Unless the Centre addresses some of the problems of Telangana state and of AP, their ruling parties will not extend their full support to the centre even indirectly.
The TRS and YSRC are both anti Congress and at present are extending issue based support to the central government led by the BJP. In AP, the ruling YSRC’s main demand is granting ‘special status’ for the state. In Telangana, the ruling TRS wants financial help from the centre. The YSRC has told the BJP that it must first announce that it will accord special status to the state, and the exact concessions can be worked out later.
In the memorandum submitted to the 15th Finance Commission, the YSRC government has requested the central government to share funds in centrally sponsored schemes and externally aided projects on par with concessions given to the ‘special status’ states.
Political circles feel that in the coming days, there will be a polarisation at national and state level. This will allow the Telangana and AP governments to get some benefits from the centre.