Tirupati: Fresh from the tremendous performance of the party in Bihar as well as bypolls across the country, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is keen on making its presence felt in the Tirupati Lok Sabha bypolls.
It is clearly ahead of the other two serious players — the ruling YSR Congress and principal opposition Telugu Desam — in launching the preparatory exercise for bypolls which were necessitated by the sudden demise of sitting MP B. Durga Prasad of the YSRC. Ever since state BJP president Somu Veeraju announced in the temple town that the party is eager to repeat the result of the Dubbak Assembly constituency in Telangana state, where party broke into the strong bastion of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the party leaders are busy drawing strategies to win over the voters.
Party sources said the local units have been identifying and shortlisting the probables and recommend to the central leadership. Party incharge Sunil Deodhar recently organised party meeting in Tirupati and made a scathing attack on the ruling party and Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. As expected, the BJP based its election slogans on the issue of desecration of temples and forcible conversions, making clear its strategy to replace Telugu Desam as the alternative. "We will give equal importance to highlighting the progress the country is witnessing under Modiji's leadership," a state party leader pointed out.
State leaders are conducting back-to-back meetings with key leaders in the party and also the local cadres in Tirupati parliamentary constituency.
The BJP is pushing local committees to reach out to the public by propagating the schemes sanctioned to the state and funds released for the development of Tirupati smart city by the BJP-led NDA government at the centre. On the other hand, the party is learnt to have been listing out names for the candidature.
Since four out of the seven Assembly segments under the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat come under Nellore district, it is expected that the party high command will select a strong candidate from these four segments. A few names from these segments have already been on the table of the party's high command, sources said.
BJP spokesperson Samanchi Srinivas, however, said that the party will give an opportunity to the best and most suitable candidates. “It is too early to announce a candidate. In a national party like the BJP, there will be a number of factors for the selection of candidates and senior leaders will give opportunity to those who have worked hard and are loyal to the party,” Srinivas told this newspaper.
The party, which had earlier represented Tirupati Assembly seat in alliance with TD in 1999, will ask the Jana Sena to leave the seat to it and request its chief Pawan Kalyan to extend support and campaign extensively. It is focusing on converting the Balija community, which is considerably strong in the area and with whose support Chiranjeevi could become MLA in 2019, as its base.