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Groping in the rubble

Groping in the rubble
Highlights

There is a change of guard at the helm of the Telangana state BJP. Musheerabad MLA Dr K Laxman has been named as its new chief.  Kishan Reddy led the party in a crucial period of transition into a separate state. The new chief has to steer the party through the midterm in the run up to the 2019 polls. The BJP’s fortunes thus greatly depend on how the party fares during this period. 

There is a change of guard at the helm of the Telangana state BJP. Musheerabad MLA Dr K Laxman has been named as its new chief. Kishan Reddy led the party in a crucial period of transition into a separate state. The new chief has to steer the party through the midterm in the run up to the 2019 polls. The BJP’s fortunes thus greatly depend on how the party fares during this period.

The party continues to vacillate on the crucial question of deciding on its role vis-à-vis the TRS government. The TRS leadership could successfully keep the state BJP leadership guessing. The state BJP is rattled to take a position as it is not sure about the political message from the all India leadership. In fact, the state BJP was compelled to sail with TDP in 2014 much to the discomfiture of its rank and file only at the instance of the central leadership.

Despite the party’s continuing chemistry with TDP in Andhra Pradesh, the Telangana BJP could at last delink from that party. The state BJP claims to emerge as an alternative to TRS. But this cannot be possible without taking the ruling party and the government head on. The BJP is still not ready for such a battle. Barring occasional campaigns, the BJP is yet to engage TRS in any serious polemics.

Absence of a charismatic state level leadership who can match the iconic image of Chief Minister KCR is a serious short coming. In the personality driven Indian democratic polity, leadership is a prerequisite for a significant political advance. The debacle of BJP in Bihar and Delhi illustrates this. The quintessential Nitish Kumar and Arvind Kejriwal could send the BJP to its waterloo in these states.

The BJP in Telangana is plagued by even organisational weaknesses. The party‘s organisation is still limited in many districts. Despite unprecedented headwinds, the TDP still has grassroots cadre. This helped the TDP to score better than its alliance partner in 2014.

The state BJP leadership is not united to face the TRS juggernaut. The party had conducive national political climate in 2014. Still its electoral success in the state was not so attractive. In 2019, the BJP is not expected to enjoy congenial national political currents. The defeats in several states may prove to be the unpleasant political baggage. The state BJP has to swim against this national political tide too.

The BJP certainly has many positives too. When compared to Andhra Pradesh, the party has better organisational strength in Telangana. The dream for separate state of Telangana wouldn’t have been possible without BJP‘s support. The socio political landscape has a potential to trigger polarisation that could benefit BJP.

The opposition space has multiple contenders. The TDP suffers from a congenital disorder. The Congress is still ill equipped. The Left presence is electorally marginal. Yet, the BJP is groping in the rubble. The party under the new leadership has to reinvent itself to make any significant impact on Telangana political landscape.

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