Bandi Sanjay promoted as BJP national general secretary, Anil Antony gets secretary post

The BJP effected a minor rejig of its national team, retained DK Aruna and AP Abdullakutty as vice-presidents.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jul 29, 2023 | 1:08 PM Updated Jul 29, 2023 | 1:08 PM

Bandi Sanjay Kumar and Anil Antony.

In a minor revamp of its national team of office bearers, the BJP promoted Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar as a general secretary and appointed Anil Antony, son of Congress leader and former defence minister AK Antony, as a secretary.

Bandi Sanjay was the Telangana state president of the BJP. Union Minister G Kishan Reddy replaced him on 21 July.

DK Aruna from Telangana and former MP AP Abdullakutty from Kerala, have been retained as vice-presidents, the BJP said in an official communication on Saturday, 29 July.

Antony had resigned from the Congress and joined the BJP on 6 April following differences over the screening of the BBC BBC documentary, India: The Modi Question, on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’a role in the Gujarat riots.

The party also retained Satya Kumar from Andhra Pradesh as national secretary. He was one of the front runners for the post of BJP AP president but at the last minute, D Purandeswari pipped him to the post. In a tweet, Satya Kumar thanked the party for retaining him as national secretary.

The appointment of Bandi Sanjay as the general secretary brings down the curtain on the suspense over what the party would offer to him after it removed him as the unit president of Telangana.

However, it was well known that Bandi Sanjay was removed not because of any lapse in discharging his duties as president of the party, but due to the pressure exerted by Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajender, who led the dissidents who included former Congress MLA Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy.

Related: Kishan Reddy takes over as Telangana BJP chief

The Eatala factor

Rajender was against Bandi Sanjay as he “believed” that the Hindutva line that the latter had adopted would not cut ice with the voters in Telangana — as it didn’t in Karnataka.

But it was common knowledge that Rajender wanted to step into Bandi Sanjay’s shoes so that he could be seen as the prospective chief minister’s candidate. He has been dropping enough hints that he was chief minister material.

He had even said that if the party consented, he would contest against chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao from Gajwel, the latter’s home constituency, indicating that he should be seen on a par with the chief minister.

Rajender being a powerful BC leader, the party, reluctant to lose him, yielded to his pressure and replaced Sanjay with Kishan Reddy. The party made Rajender the chairman of the BJP Election Management Committee, whose composition and responsibilities are yet to be divulged.

By promoting Sanjay as a general secretary, the BJP has made clear its intention to use him extensively in furthering the party’s prospects in the Assembly elections later this year.

DK Aruna, who has been retained as the vice-president, will have to be content with what has been given to her. The party wanted her to continue as vice-president as she belonged to the powerful Reddy community.

The party would be expecting her to win over the Congress-leaning Reddys in Mahabubnagar, her home turf.