PM Modi gives clear direction to AP leaders to expand BJP, meets Pawan Kalyan

On a two-day visit to Andhra Pradesh, PM Modi on Friday met the state BJP core group leaders at INS Chola, where he was put up.

BySNV Sudhir

Published Nov 12, 2022 | 1:29 AM Updated Dec 04, 2022 | 5:02 PM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves at the public at a roadshow in Visakhapatnam on Friday, 11 November, 2022. (Supplied)

In the one-and-a-half-hour meeting with the core group of leaders in the Andhra Pradesh unit of the BJP, the message from Prime Minister Narendra Modi was clear: Strengthen the party base in the state without depending on any other political party.

The meeting on Friday, 11 November, assumes significance in the rapidly changing political landscape of Andhra Pradesh, where actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party — once a strong ally of the BJP — is looking to enhance its influence.

It is learnt Modi gave a clear direction to the BJP leaders in the state. “It was an enlightening and fruitful meeting with the prime minister,” a top BJP leader from the state told South First.

“Giving us so much time shows the party’s intent and focus shifting to Andhra Pradesh. He gave us a clear-cut direction to strengthen the party base in the state on its own, without depending on any other party,” added the leader.

Modi told the BJP leaders to prepare a ‘”charge sheet” listing out the failures of the YSRCP government. He observed that the YSRCP government has been committing several mistakes and fast losing the trust of the public, which the BJP should utilise to its advantage.

To strengthen the party at the grassroots level, the prime minister asked the leaders to go public highlighting the YSRCP’s failure and the good done by the Centre. He also told them advised them to take up local issues that would create an impact.

Modi’s second visit to Andhra Pradesh in less than six months once again brought to the fore the BJP’s plans to expand in the south Indian states, especially in both the Telugu states.

Over the last few years, the BJP allied with the TDP several times, but at times also chose to run the electoral race on its own.

Pawan meets Modi after 8 years

Jana Sena supremo Pawan Kalyan met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Visakhapatnam on Friday — the two coming together after eight long years.

It was after the 2014 poll results were out that Pawan Kalyan last met Modi.

The 25-minute face-to-face came less than a month after Pawan Kalyan’s meeting with TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, which was seen as a sign of Pawan distancing himself from the BJP and cosying up to the TDP.

The BJP, meanwhile, appeared unperturbed by the development.

In 2014, though Pawan’s Jana Sena didn’t contest the polls, it supported the BJP-TDP alliance.  After the 2014 polls, Pawan Kalyan had a somewhat parting of ways parted ways with both parties.

At that time, Pawan Kalyan alleged that the BJP-led Central government had given two rotten laddoos — basically, nothing — to Andhra Pradesh instead of Special Category Status (SCS).

In the 2019 polls, the Jana Sena had an alliance with the Left parties and the BSP. However, after the 2019 polls, Pawan Kalyan again aligned with the BJP.

Pawan Kalyan clarifies

“I met the prime minister now under the special circumstances prevailing in the state.  I explained to him everything that was happening in Andhra Pradesh. He is aware of everything. In future, Andhra Pradesh will usher in and witness good days. The prime minister’s wish is that Andhra Pradesh should prosper,” Pawan Kalyan told reporters after the meeting.

Sources in Jana Sena pointed out that Pawan Kalyan explained to Modi the politics around YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government’s three capitals plan, huge borrowings, and the anarchy prevailing in the state — including the alleged liquor and sand mafia.

Though they have been allies, the Jana Sena and the BJP never conducted joint programmes. While the BJP planned its own protests against the ruling dispensation in the state, the Jana Sena devised its own programmes.

The absence of joint programmes was read as a lack of synergy and trust between the Jana Sena and the BJP.

All this also came against the backdrop of the Jana Sena and the main Opposition, the TDP, working together — directly in some places and indirectly in others — before and after the Zila and Mandal Parishad elections late last year.

Modi roadshow in Visakhapatnam

Jagan Modi Biswa Bushan Harichandan

AP Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Governor Biswa Bushan Harichandan receive Prime Minister Narendra Modi at naval air station INS Dega on Friday, 11 November, 2022. (Supplied)

Meanwhile, Modi was received in Visakhapatnam by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and Governor Biswa Bhushan Harichandan at the naval air station INS Dega.

Along the 1.5-kilometre route from INS Dega to INS Chola, Modi was given a vociferous reception during the roadshow by the general public and the BJP workers.

On Saturday, the prime minister is expected to participate in a public meeting at the Andhra University Engineering College grounds.

He is reaching the venue at 10.30 am from the ENC headquarters by road, and leaving at 11.45 pm after inaugurating and launching several major projects worth around ₹15,000 crore.

In view of his two-day visit, security was beefed up in Visakhapatnam.

Nearly 7,000 police personnel, drawn from several neighbouring districts, were deployed for the security arrangements.

Bomb disposal and dog squads, special forces (including greyhounds), APSP, and Octopus, along with traffic personnel, are closely monitoring the main junctions of the city.