Karnataka defeat was on local issues': TS BJP

HYDERABAD: The BJP in Telangana has put up a brave face in the aftermath of the party's defeat in Karnataka, claiming that the results of the election in the neighbouring state will have no bearing on what happens in Telangana five to six months later when Telangana goes to polls to elect its 119 new MLAs. While this may be so, several party leaders have told Deccan Chronicle that they have "other problems that need urgent attention."

While Telangana BJP leaders unanimously agreed that the Karnataka results were the result of 'local issues,' the result will not be repeated in Telangana. In this scenario, the BJP appears to be banking on two critical issues: the need for Hindutva vote consolidation and the BJP's long form for describing voter polarisation, failures, and corruption in the BRS government.

“The good thing for us is that the Congress here is not united. There Congress leaders worked together, and here, they pull in different directions. More importantly, there is a strong perception that even if Congress MLAs are elected, they will join the BRS as they did after the last two Assembly elections,” the BJP leader said.

While the Congress is not seen as a major threat, not all Telangana BJP leaders support the Hindutva push led by BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar's consistent calls for Hindu vote consolidation and his invitation to Muslim-baiting Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to address meetings. "Several of us are aware that this strategy will not work here," said another BJP leader, adding that "the better option will be to go to the people with the BRS government's failures and its corruption."

However, it is not easy to push the corruption issue too hard because the Centre has no real leverage to act on this front, a prominent party leader admitted, adding, "and let's say even if the CBI cracks down, BRS will claim we are targeting them unfairly and gain sympathy." The real problem, according to several BJP leaders, is the conflict between the new and old guard. The discomfort in the party is palpable on this front with some seniors saying some newcomers are desperate to take charge, and that some others are upset “at being ignored.”

With the fault lines clearly marked, speculations, such as those that did the rounds on Monday that Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy was quitting the BJP – something he vehemently denied – and that Etala Rajendar wants to give up his chairmanship of the joinings committee, have only highlighted the internal strife.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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