Telangana | BJP veterans determined to have a say over leadership change

Updated - June 12, 2024 02:18 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2024 08:03 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Former Minister and Malkajgiri MP elect Eatala Rajender

Former Minister and Malkajgiri MP elect Eatala Rajender | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Telangana BJP unit should have been celebrating for having two of their top personalities, party chief G. Kishan Reddy and his immediate predecessor Bandi Sanjay Kumar, inducted into the Central ministry in the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Instead, the party is getting divided into seniors with “grass-roots base”, including working in the Sangh Parivar, and ‘turncoats’, who have defected in the last few years, with the post of State party president up for grabs. With Mr. Kishan Reddy likely to relinquish, the race is heating up and seniors are nonplussed over former Minister and Malkajgiri MP elect Eatala Rajender’s name being pushed in the front.

“There is a process that is followed to select a new party president. There has to be a review of the election results, and there will be Central observers who will interact with the prospective candidates, the Sangh will be consulted and any candidate name will be finalised only after a report is submitted,” said a party veteran, declining to be named.

The veterans point out that the national president post too is likely to become vacant post the induction of incumbent J.P. Nadda into the Union Cabinet and the Central leadership will also be thinking of changes in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, where there have been reverses in Parliament polls.

“It is inevitable because Assembly elections in some States are due. Therefore, to rush to a conclusion about the TG leadership will a folly, though select leaks are being given by vested interests,” said another senior leader, pleading anonymity.

Eatala Rajender staying put in New Delhi

Mr. Rajender himself has been staying put in New Delhi in the last few days, and has been meeting top leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah, to present his case strongly since he has been overlooked for the Cabinet berth. Incidentally, during the campaign, Union Ministers S. Jaishankar and Hardip Singh Puri spoke of the key role for him at the Centre.

Veterans argue that in the last couple of years, turncoats, “even if they had joined five years ago”, have been preferred over long-standing leaders in the name of “financial capability” and “public image” for tickets whether it was in the last Parliament elections, now or during the Assembly polls.

“How many of the turncoats won? Those who did win is because of the Modi factor,” they reason. The post of the legislative party leader too went to a newcomer (A. Maheshwar Reddy), they point out, and are actively lobbying with the Central leadership to keep the organisation posts at least with the veterans.

Names of veterans which are doing rounds

Names of veterans Ch. Sambamurthy, P. Muralidhar Rao and T. Achari are doing the rounds, along with former MLA NVSS Prabhakar and former MLC N. Ramchander Rao for the top post.

Both Mr. Kishan Reddy and Mr. Sanjay Kumar were elevated not only for their social background but for their work within the party over the years. Apparently, the Central leadership wanted to make amends for the latter’s shock removal from the president post, which had adversely affected the morale of the rank and file, attest veterans.

The next elections are far away, and so in the interregnum, we need to strengthen the base. We have to look within and not be dependent on ‘outsiders’ having no Sangh connect. It has not worked anywhere in the country, they added.

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