No light at end of tunnel for BJP in AP
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too, like the Congress, seems to be taking decisions from Delhi without bothering about the ground situation
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) too, like the Congress, seems to be taking decisions from Delhi without bothering about the ground situation. It seems to be failing in assessing the real situation and taking quick decisions. Like the Congress, it is depending on the State leaders who seem to be giving tailor-made reports to the party Central leadership. If this situation continues, making foray into the two Telugu States - Andhra Pradesh and Telangana - would be a distant dream for the BJP.
This factor became clear from the way the BJP picked up the candidate for the Tirupati Lok Sabha by-polls. The ground report from Tirupati clearly indicates that the fight is going to be between the ruling YSRCP and the TDP. The BJP and the Congress would be vying for third position. Though the BJP national secretary Sunil Deodhar claimed that Tirupati by-election will be the saffron party's first stop to come to power in AP, the indication is that it will be the full stop.
This raises another question. Is the BJP serious about foraying into AP? The BJP in Andhra has never shown any seriousness on any issue. Whether it be the desecration of idols or torching of temple Ratham at Antarvedi or the issue of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, it has always been dithering in its actions. While the TDP had selected Panabaka Lakshmi as its candidate for the Tirupati by-polls much ahead of others and the YSRCP had decided to field Dr Gurumurthy, the personal physiotherapist of Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, the BJP went on dragging its feet and announced the name of the former Chief Secretary of Karnataka Ratna Prabha.
In terms of popularity, she is less known person and has never been into active politics. Tirupati has seven Assembly segments and four out of these fall in Nellore district. In 2019 elections, the BJP had got less votes than NOTA. Since then nothing seems to have changed in their favour. The TDP candidate is a former MP and former Union Minister and is known to the electorate. She lost to the YSRCP in the last elections.
Dr Gurumurthy is a known personality from this constituency and is popular with the people. Both the candidates have strong cadre who are sweating it out to ensure the victory of their party candidates. On the contrary, the BJP is yet to take up structured campaign. With some differences between the Jana Sena leader Pavan Kalyan and the State BJP having cropped up, it remains to be seen how actively Pavan would campaign for the former bureaucrat. The possibility of Jana Sena votes getting transferred to the BJP also seems to be a remote possibility.
Though the Congress had fielded Chinta Mohan, former MP from here, the fight is going to be tough and with the Congress losing its political ground in the last six years, it certainly will be an uphill task for him. If BJP leaders feel bolstered by their success in Dubbaka in Telangana and the GHMC polls in Hyderabad, then they should know that they have miscalculated the situation.
But a deeper analysis indicates that the Central BJP does not want to seriously try to make inroads into Andhra Pradesh. Since last one year, the BJP's politics in Andhra has centred on Tirupati and other temples in the State. The party claimed that there are attacks on Hindu places of worship, including Tirupati. It even questioned Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's faith, when he visited Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirupati recently, but all that was a superficial act.
Though some feel that the BJP is depending more on Balija community and that the State president Somu Veeraraju and Pawan Kalyan who belong to Kapu community will be able to attract the Balija votes, the situation seems to be otherwise. Balijas of Rayalaseema can never find a common ground with Kapus of coastal area. There is a cultural and regional gap between them.