Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party in Telangana state, which is trying for an image makeover, has to contend with a dearth of candidates willing to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
The state leadership of the party admits there are not enough candidates to contest about 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The party may do well nationally but the state unit will not be able to cash in on that.
The BJP had contested eight Lok Sabha seats in 2014 in alliance with the Telugu Desam and won only one seat. In the 2019 elections, the party is likely to contest 17 seats independently in the state.
After its debacle in the state assembly elections, other parties are not keen to forge an alliance with the BJP. BJP candidates lost their deposits in 104 segments out of 119 Assembly seats where the party contested without any alliance.
In the 2014 general election, the BJP had fielded Ch. Vidyasagar Rao from Karimnagar, E. Lakshminarayana from Nizamabad, C. Narendranath from Medak, Bandaru Dattatreya from Secunderabad, Dr Bhagavanth Rao from Hyderabad, Nagam Janardhan Reddy from Mahbubnagar, N. Indrasena Reddy from Bhongir and Parameshwar Ramgalla from Warangal.
The party will have to rely on these same old faces and on candidates who were defeated in the Assembly elections in December last year, in view of the shortage of potential candidates.
Sources in the party revealed that G. Kishan Reddy, party state president Dr K. Lakshman and sitting MP Bandaru Dattatreya are aspiring for the Secunderabad Lok Sabha seat and Baddam Balreddy and Janardhan Reddy, brother-in-law of Bandaru Dattatreya, are aspiring for the Chevella seat. A Bhaskar, son of A. Narendra, is in the race for the Hyderabad seat along with Dr Bhagavanth Rao, BJP’s lone MLA Raja Singh, and Satish Agarwal.
Sources further revealed that N. Ramachandra Rao, member of the legislative council (MLC) and V. Sriram are likely to contest from Malkajgiri and Bhongir for Lok Sabha seats in the coming polls.
Mr Ramachandra Rao, a senior leader and MLC of the BJP said, “It is a fact that though we have strong leaders for the Nizamabad, Secunderabad, Hyderabad, Malkajgiri and Chevella seats, we do not have potential candidates for other seats, more particularly in the seats reserved for the Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes.”
He explained that though BJP candidates lost their deposits in 103 Assembly segments, the party succeeded in increasing its vote share and this will be of some help in the ensuing the Lok Sabha elections.