Etala leaves saffron party red faced
HYDERABAD: Former minister and BJP legislator Etala Rajendar has left the saffron party red-faced by going public against his party leaders, whom he described as ‘coverts’ of BRS supremo and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.
Humiliated over the recent showdown with fellow BJP leader G. Vivek on repayment of loans to the latter, Rajendar rushed to the media on Wednesday and made a controversial statement that Rao had his moles in all Opposition parties and dropped enough hints that the unsavoury episode was a part of Rao’s efforts to defame him through coverts.
Highly-placed sources in the BJP told Deccan Chronicle that Rajendar was advised against going public as senior leaders suspected that he would retaliate, further embarrassing the party.
“We all felt Vivek shouldn’t have raised the issue at a public function, drawing attention of not only party leaders but others as well,” a senior leader said, adding that Rajendar addressing the media would only escalate matters.
Wasting no time, Pradesh Congress Committee president A. Revanth Reddy took full advantage of Rajendar’s remarks and said the latter was ill at ease in the BJP, which had a tacit understanding with the BRS.
In a strategic move, the Congress made overtures to Rajendar, as was evident from one leader after another extending sympathies to the former minister and other outsiders who had joined the BJP, and suggesting to them to shun the saffron brigade. Interestingly, the talk of all anti-Chandrashekar Rao forces floating a new party, which was in the air several months ago, was also revived.
The infighting in the state BJP, which is divided between the natives and migrants, has intensified in the recent past after Rajendar is said to have staked claims for the top post in place of incumbent Bandi Sanjay Kumar.
Sources close to him said he was of the strong view that the present strategy of communal polarisation would not work in Telangana and it was essential to pull in the minority, Christian and Dalit votes to dethrone Chandrashekar Rao and had conveyed the same to party central leadership. “Rajendar will help consolidate all the forces that were active in the Telangana agitation and are unhappy with the present dispensation,” a close aide of Rajendar said, adding that these forces include even Left sympathisers.
There was stiff resistance within the BJP to Rajendar’s moves and, shedding their differences, all senior BJP leaders including Union minister G. Kishan Reddy rallied behind Sanjay.