BJP looks to Delhi for direction | Analysis

Party cadre and leaders appear clueless about candidates selection and or the campaign, party veterans point out

October 16, 2023 08:48 pm | Updated October 17, 2023 12:03 pm IST - HYDERABAD

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) is up and running with the campaign for Telangana Assembly Elections-2023 having issued party tickets as well as ‘B’ forms, indicating that they are the ‘official’ candidates. The Congress Party too has released the first list of candidates and is gearing for the campaign launch. Where does this leave the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?

All fingers point to New Delhi. The candidates list is expected to be cleared by the central parliamentary board anytime soon and the manifesto too is getting ready. But, no one here is sure who is in and who is out apart from certain obvious candidates, because a transparent preliminary exercise was not taken up.

“Applications have been collected from interested candidates but following that there has been no attempt to interact with them or call the other contenders to devise a strategy. Usually, the state election committee will ascertain various views from local leaders, cadre and contenders before making recommendations to the high command but it is absent now,” disclosed senior leaders, requesting anonymity.

Despite Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy, also being the State president and top leaders like former Union minister Prakash Javadekar, Sunil Bansal, Tarun Chugh, B.L. Santosh, camping here for the last few months or making regular visits, the leaders do not seem to be able to give proper direction to cadre or message about candidates selection or the campaign, so far.

“Even when they are in party office, most of them are unavailable to cadre. No one knows whom they meet or interact when they are here,” remarked another leader with a shrug. In most of the constituencies, there is a tussle between veterans, turncoats or newcomers for the party tickets.

While the party has managed to keep some of the leaders ready to jump ship from doing so by making various assurances, there is a fear among the veterans that they will be short-charged in favour “winnability” or “money power”.

“The party willingly received donations from outside to run television channels and conduct programmes like public meetings, ‘padayatras’ (walkathons) and others. Those with such deep pockets naturally expect to be given tickets. There are others, who having failed to get either BRS or Congress Party tickets, trying their luck here or are being openly wooed, almost disregarding those who had nurtured the constituency for years,” said another leader.

The extent of unease among the party is evident when a group of veterans from the capital region jointly called on the top leadership here to request for allotment of a substantial number of tickets to them. They pointed to the raw deal in nominated posts and did not want this to happen in tickets issuance. They were given a patient ear minus any assurances. “The central leadership will have to balance different power centres in vogue here or they will be a backlash,” cautioned another leader.

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