Amid speculation of change in Telangana BJP leadership, Eatala Rajender leaves for Delhi

The central leadership is firm on putting an end to differences between the two groups in the party before the Assembly election.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 09, 2023 | 9:01 PMUpdatedJun 09, 2023 | 9:01 PM

Eatala Rajender. (Twitter)

Amid internal differences among senior leaders of the Telangana state unit of the BJP, former minister and Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajender left for New Delhi after getting a call from the central leadership on Friday, 9 June.

Following reports that differences cropped up between groups headed by two senior leaders in the state, the BJP high command has decided to put an end to the differences and bring all the leaders onto a single platform to fight the Assembly elections in a united manner and defeat the BRS.

Rajender’s visit to Delhi comes against the backdrop of a tussle between the recent lateral entrants into the BJP and the party’s old guard, comprising mostly dyed-in-the-wool RSS functionaries like state unit chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar.

For the last few weeks, Rajender, who is also the party’s Joinings Committee convenor, has been openly saying that two senior leaders, who were placed under suspension by the BRS, were counselling him to join the Congress when he requested them to join the BJP and fight against the state government.

Related: BJP leadership in a bind over keeping its Telangana flock together

Speculation over change in leadership

These remarks created more confusion among the cadre. As Rajender, who was himself ousted from the BRS, is expected to stay in New Delhi for the next couple of days, speculation is rife about the change in leadership in Telangana BJP.

While a few leaders said that there would not be any changes in the party in Telangana, some said that additional responsibilities could be entrusted to important leaders like Rajender — making him election campaign in-charge, for instance.

According to sources South First spoke to, Eatala Rajender’s strategy of taking the enemy, the BRS, head-on is at variance with the BJP’s established course — using Hindutva as its main plank. This has become a cause of dissonance.

Though Rajender’s supporters want him to lead the party in Telangana, it is unlikely that the BJP would accede to their request since he is of non-RSS stock

The central leadership is, however, apparently firm on putting an end to differences between the two groups in the party before the actual exercise for the Assembly election campaign begins.

It wants to send a strong message to the cadre that all the leaders in the party are united to defeat the BRS in the Assembly elections.

The BJP also wants to somehow placate the dissidents in the party so that they stay put and not look at the Congress — which is basking in the afterglow of its victory in Karnataka — as an alternative.

Also read: Ousted BRS leader Srinivasa Reddy to reveal his hand soon

Will Bandi Sanjay be shifted to Delhi?

The visit by Eatala Rajender to Delhi comes at a time where there are also reports that Bandi Sanjay would be entrusted with a role in Delhi.

In case Bandi Sanjay does move to Delhi, the BJP would be saddled with another problem — the vacuum his departure would create.

While he may not be popular with the lateral entrants to the party, including Rajendar, Bandi Sanjay, by all accounts, had endeared himself to the people during his Praja Sangrama Yatra and is believed to have proselytised large chunks of Backward Classes (BCs) — erstwhile supporters of the BRS — into BJP supporters.

Meanwhile, on Friday, Bandi Sanjay said Union Home Minister Amit Shah will take part in a public meeting to be held on 15 June in the Khammam district.

Addressing party leaders at a preparatory meeting organised in Khammam, he exuded confidence that the BJP would win all the seats in the district.

Also read: Bandi Sanjay dismisses speculations of TDP-BJP alliance

The issue of conflicting ideals

Then the question remains as to what would happen to the party cadres that had been working for Bandi Sanjay if he is taken to Delhi to handle some important assignment, as reports reaching Hyderabad point out.

“I do not think the party would contemplate changing the guard in Telangana. Not when the elections are not very far off. The status quo will continue. The party at the most might make the dissident elements feel important by consulting them often,” one senior BJP leader, who did not want his name quoted, told South First earlier.

Rajender, who has a far-left background, wants the party not to bank too much on its Hindutva philosophy but take all sections, including the minorities, along.

He is against using Hindutva as an electoral device that banks on fomenting communal passions. Bandi Sanjay, a dyed-in-the-wool RSS leader, talks nothing but Hindutva.

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mojo and his Hindutva campaign did not work in Karnataka, it would be foolhardy to use the same strategy in Telangana as it is another southern state where polarisation between Hindus and Muslims may not be as easy as it is in the North, the Rajender camp believes.