BJP set to hold South leaders conference in Hyderabad; talk of roping parties into NDA

To set the tone for a fresh beginning, the BJP has decided to make a ruthless dissection of its South performance.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jul 08, 2023 | 4:58 PMUpdatedJul 09, 2023 | 7:34 AM

BJP South leaders conclave

With the Karnataka Assembly acting like a wake-up call, the BJP is now trying to arrest further electoral haemorrhage. It has double downed on its efforts to turn the tide in the South in its favour, though it is a tall order.

To set the tone for a fresh beginning, the BJP is understood to have decided on a ruthless dissection of the layers of complacency that had set in, which ultimately led to the Karnataka disaster, and fortify the party in other southern states.

The start will be a party conclave of presidents and key leaders in five southern states — Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala — and two Union Territories — Puducherry and Lakshadweep — in Hyderabad on Sunday, 9 July.

Also Read: Karnataka Assembly session begins sans Leader of Opposition 

Winning over the South

BJP national president JP Nadda and party General Secretary (Organisation) BL Santhosh will be among those who will take stock of the situation and draw up an action plan to infuse new vitality into the party’s sinews.

According to sources, the party leadership wants to win more seats from the South in the Parliament elections next year. The party has already identified about 75 to 100 seats, besides the ones that it holds now in the South, which it wants to retain.

These 75-100 constituencies have a fair share of Scheduled Tribes (STs) and Scheduled Castes (SCs), or are those that are reserved for them, or those where Other Backward Classes (OBCs) are huge in number.

But, as it is a tall order, the party wants to rope in as many parties as possible into its National Democratic Alliance (NDA) so that BJP — as its leader — might become acceptable in the South. The same exercise is also going on in the North after the BJP invited Punjab’s Shiromani Akali Dal back into the NDA.

Plus everyone now knows the purpose of splitting the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and even seeking to find ways to woo Nitish Kumar back into the NDA, though it is too early to say whether its efforts would bear any fruit.

Related: BJP leaders put up show of unity ahead of Modi’s Telangana visit

BJP in Andhra Pradesh

As far as the South is concerned, the BJP is understood to be weighing the pros and cons of inviting the TDP in Andhra Pradesh into the NDA.

When Union Minister Amit Shah had invited TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu, who has been longing to rub shoulders with the BJP leaders, the latter rushed to Delhi.

Both Naidu and Shah spent considerable time in a one-on-one talk recently. The purpose of the meeting, among other things, was seen as a signal that the BJP may want him back in the NDA.

As the BJP cannot hope to win seats in states like Andhra Pradesh, where it has practically no presence, it would suit its interests if a party like the TDP is in the NDA. This would help the BJP if it falls short of numbers.

The ruling YSRCP in the state may not join the NDA for fear of antagonising the Muslims and SC Christians, but when push comes to shove, the YSRCP too is likely to help the BJP out.

Related: Amid talk of tie-up with TDP, BJP picks Purandeswari to lead AP

BJP in Telangana

As far as Telangana is concerned, the saffron party leaders say that they are targeting about 14 seats and they are ready to give what it takes to win at least eight of them, which means that it would have to win four more seats.

The saffron party, which seems to be more interested in the Lok Sabha polls scheduled for early 2024, has fortified the Telangana party by appointing former Union Minister Prakash Javadekar as the election in-charge.

As Javadekar knows the Telangana territory, its people, and their predilections, the party seems to have decided that he fits the bill.

Though it is not clear what role would be assigned to him, it is widely felt that he would help the party by guiding it in the right direction.

Also Read: ‘BRS will have no address after Assembly elections,’ says Modi