Intent on making the public meeting at Khammam, where he intends to lay out the BRS national agenda on 18 January, both majestic and memorable, Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao on Monday, 9 January, reportedly asked the leaders from the district to work shoulder-to-shoulder to make it a spectacular event.
The chief minister, who reviewed the arrangements for the public meeting at Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad, asked the leaders to mobilise people in lakhs as it is from this platform that he would be unveiling the party’s philosophy and the action plan to provide the nation a new direction.
It is from here, a region where the BRS is not on a great wicket, that KCR’s bete noir N Chandrababu Naidu addressed a public meeting recently, with the intention of testing the waters in Telangana and retrieve lost ground for the TDP.
By choosing the same place for the launch of BRS, KCR apparently is keen on neutralising any impact Chandrababu Naidu may have had on the people in the district, which has a soft corner for the party founded by the late NTR.
This is because of the presence of the Kamma population in the district which identifies itself with the TDP.
Another reason for KCR to make his party known all over the country from here is that it is contiguous with Andhra Pradesh where he intends to make a political foray by contesting in the next Assembly and Parliament elections.
Related: In first concrete step, BRS sets up its Andhra Pradesh unit
The importance of Khammam
People in Khammam share a bond with the people of Andhra Pradesh frequently visit Vijayawada for business purposes as it is the largest city close to them.
The chief minister has already constituted the BRS committee for Andhra Pradesh and the public meeting at a place close to the state might have some rub-off effect there as well.
According to sources, KCR has invited chief ministers Arvind Kejriwal (Delhi), Bhagwanth Singh Mann (Punjab), Pinarayi Vijayan (Kerala), and the former chief ministers of Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, HD Kumaraswamy and Akhilesh Yadav, respectively, to the event.
Prior to the event, he will inaugurate the newly-built integrated collectorate complex in Khammam.
Trouble for BRS in Khammam
The chief minister’s review meeting in Hyderabad was attended by, among others, Transport Minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Finance and Health Minister T Harish Rao, Minister for Roads and Buildings Vemula Prashanth Reddy, Khammam MP Nama Nageswara Rao, Rajya Sabha members B Parthasarathy Reddy, Vaddiraju Ravichandra, and MLAs B Haripriya, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, and L Ramulu Naik.
But absence of those from the region at attend the meeting, or those who were not invited, was the topic of discussion in political circles.
Among those not invited were former minister Tummala Nageswara Rao, an MLA from the region for over two decades, and senior BRS leader and former Khammam MP and industrialist Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy.
According to sources, the latter is expected to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah on 18 January in New Delhi, along with other senior BJP leaders from Telangana, according to sources.
Srinivas Reddy is expected to join the BJP in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who will be visiting Hyderabad on 19 January, after taking Shah’s blessings.
Reddy won from the Khammam parliamentary constituency on the YSRCP ticket in the 2014 elections, but later joined the TRS (now the BRS).
However, he could not contest the polls in the 2019 elections as the ruling party denied him a ticket.
Since then, speculations have been rife that he plans to quit the party, and they blew up in the past few days.
Reddy recently made the decision to join the BJP and contest the next Parliamentary elections, terming the elections due this year as a “Kurukshetra battle”.