BJP’s Malkajgiri candidate Eatala ploughs a lonely furrow with little support from other factions in Telangana

After Rajender was declared as the candidate, Srisailam Goud wondered why the party was preferring outsiders, implying that he was ignored.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Apr 07, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedApr 07, 2024 | 8:30 PM

Eatala Rajender campaigning

In India’s most populous Malakajgiri Lok Sabha constituency, former minister and BJP nominee Eatala Rajender seems to be ploughing a lonely furrow trying to reach out to more than 31 lakh voters.

The party cadres do not seem to be too enthused to help him win the election.

Rajender, who managed to get the ticket, had ruffled the feathers of several leaders, in the process.

Particularly, party senior leader P Muralidhar Rao, who is party-in-charge for Madhya Pradesh and former MLA Kuna Srisailam Goud, who left BJP and joined the Congress on Friday, 5 April.

For long, Muralidhar Rao had been eyeing Malakajgiri. Even in 2019, he hoped to get the ticket, but it went to Naraparaju Ramachander Rao who finished third after the Congress and the BRS, polling 3.04 lakh votes, 19.4 percent of the total votes cast.

After Rajender was declared as the candidate, Srisailam Goud wondered why the party was preferring outsiders implying that he was ignored.

He won from the Quthbullapur Assembly constituency in 2009 as an independent and after that, it was KP Vivekananda who won regularly in 2014 (TDP), 2018 (BRS) and 2023 (BRS). Quthbullapur is part of the Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency.

Also Read: Former Telangana MLA Kuna Srisailam Goud quits BJP, joins Congress

No help from party

At the moment, it is learnt not much help is coming Rajender’s way from the supporters of Muralidhar Rao. They are unable to come to terms with the fact that the party had nominated Rajender who joined the party recently, ignoring Muralidhar Rao, who is a dyed-in-the-wool BJP leader, tempered and brought up from ABVP in RSS school.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as some kind of supernova in Indian politics, Rao probably had thought his election would be a mere formality from Malkajgiri which is considered a microcosm of India.

It is because people from all states, mainly from North, made Malakjgiri their home. When it comes to giving their verdict, the North Indian overhang would work in favour of BJP. Rao had probably felt that the saffron tide that is perceived to be building up once again across India would lift his boat as well along with others.

On 2 March, the day the ticket for Malkajgiri was announced for Eatala Rajender along with others in the first list, Muralidhar Rao posted a cryptic message on X conveying his hurt feeling to the discerning minds.

He had said: “In the last few years, my associates, colleagues, dedicated workers of the party and well-wishers who toiled with me in conducting campaigns, events, and various engagements in Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency, I extend my heartfelt thanks to all of them. Very soon, I will interact and communicate with you to chart future courses.”

Also Read: Neither here, nor there: Eatala Rajender in a predicament over Lok Sabha elections

Upset BJP workers

Confided a BJP leader with South First: “Eatala Rajender may win. But that is beside the point. There are several leaders in the constituency who are true-blue BJP leaders like N Ramachander Rao. Ignoring them may not be a wise decision. If Rajender is a popular leader, Muralidhar Rao is a tall leader in the party. No wonder the BJP workers are not happy with the turn of developments.”

Rajender migrated to Malkajgiri though his native Huzurabad Assembly segment is in Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituency.

As it was foregone conclusion that sitting Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar would get the ticket this time also, he knew that he had no chance of contesting from there. Having lost Assembly elections both from Huzurabad and Gajwel, a crest fallen Rajender had set his eyes on Malakajgiri Lok Sabha constituency to stay afloat in public life.

The argument that he had built up with the party leadership was that since his home is in Shameerpet, which is part of Malakajgiri Lok Sabha constituency, he may be accommodated from there.

Rajender, who emerged as the black swan, upset Rao’s calculations and finally left him high and dry.