Battle lines seem to have been drawn more sharply now than ever before between the BJP and the BRS in Telangana after Prime Minister Narendra Modi cracked the whip at Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s family rule at a public meeting at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad on Saturday, 8 April.
In his first-ever trenchant and focused attack on KCR’s family, the prime minister seems to have dispelled the notion any BJP leader might have entertained that both the saffron party and the BRS have a covert understanding to eliminate their common enemy — the Congress — from Telangana’s political spectrum.
By referring to “those involved in corruption” and even moving the courts to prevent the long arm of law from reaching them, he made it clear that he was aware of the fact that KCR’s daughter and BRS MLC K Kavitha is a suspect in the Delhi liquor policy scam.
He made the audience give a positive response to whether he should punish the corrupt.
Though the BRS leaders tried to hit back at Modi, their punches lacked the firepower they should have had. They could not answer BJP’s questions of how appropriate it was to allow the perpetuation of family rule in the state which he said spawned corruption.
Neither could they refute Modi’s charge that “corrupt were moving the courts.”
Animal Husbandry Minister T Srinivas Yadav said: “Please pinpoint the area where the state had not extended cooperation,?” but remained silent on Modi’s family rule allegation. He merely said that Modi was in the habit of getting vicarious pleasure by referring to family rule in Telangana.
Narendra Modi was using the trump card of his party — no dynasty rule and no involvement in corruption — to lash out at the Telangana despite BRS arguing that the BJP was no paragon of virtue and its “clean administration” in Karnataka makes one laugh in the isles.
Finance Minister T Harish Rao said: “It is surprising that Modi came to Telangana with so much poison in his belly.”
KTR who pounced on the BJP, remained silent, apparently because is part of KCR’s “parivar” whom Modi had targeted.
BJP hopes for Telangana
Though the BJP does not have enough strength in Telangana, the party leaders believe that the groundswell once it begins would be unstoppable as happened in the party’s conquests in several states, dislodging firmly entrenched parties.
The party may have won only one seat in the 2018 Assembly elections but in just one year, 2019, it had bagged four Lok Sabha seats which constituted 28 Assembly segments.
In subsequent by-elections, the BJP won two more Assembly seats — Dubbaka and Huzurabad — and gave BRS a scare of its lifetime in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections and the by-election to Munugode.
The party leaders point out that these were indications of the changing preferences of the voters.
Though it has only three members in the Assembly, the party has been very aggressive in attacking the BRS. It is not leaving any opportunity to exploit in exposing the KCR’s family rule.
Question paper leaks
Luck seems to be favouring the BJP when question papers set for TSPSC examinations had leaked and subsequently the SSC examination papers.
The BJP’s fierce attack on the BRS, holding it responsible for the shoddy functioning of the TSPSC, has pushed the pink party on the back foot. It ran for cover, under the continuous pounding.
Pulling itself together, it constituted an SIT and arrested a couple of people. But by then the BJP had done as much damage as it could and when SSC question papers too leaked, the BRS, which wanted to be on the offensive, went after Bandi Sanjay’s jugular.
The police arrested Sanjay, accusing him of becoming a threat to law and order and for being responsible for leaking the question paper in the Hindi language on the second day of the SSC examination.
Interestingly, the arrest of Sanjay came as a blessing in disguise as the party could immediately exploit the situation to its advantage. The way the police had arrested him while he was at home in Karimnagar and later shifted him to multiple locations before producing him in court, has helped the party in whipping up a sympathy wave for him.
His release on bail was projected as the victory of the virtuous over wrongdoers. BRS’ accusation that he was responsible for the leak did not appear to have cut any ice with the people. He was accorded a hero’s welcome.
KCR’s absence at the public meeting with the Prime Minister also was grist to the BJP’s mill. Sanjay had said: “I would have felicitated KCR had he attended the meeting. What is that compelling work that had kept him away?” he asked
Even before the Prime Minister arrived at the public meeting venue at Parade Grounds on Saturday, the party workers carried him on their shoulders projecting him as one who could dare KCR.
Earlier, the Prime Minister, after arrival at Begumpet airport, exchanged a few words with Sanjay as he welcomed him to Hyderabad along with others.
It was said that Narendra Modi had complimented him for the way he was leading the party in the state and how he was getting an upper hand over the BRS which has now become more of an arch-enemy rather than a political rival.
In the wake of the BJP managing optics of gaining an upper hand over the BJP, it remains to be seen what the BRS would do to steal a march over the saffron party.
At a time when the Sword of Damocles in the form of the Delhi Liquor Policy scam is still hanging precariously on KCR’s daughter and BRS MLC Kavitha, all eyes are on BRS — whether it would turbo-charge its attack or moderate it in expectation of the BJP would be nice to her.