Bandi Sanjay likely to return as Telangana BJP chief; no truck with BRS for LS polls

The BJP believes a tie-up with the BRS for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections will only give the party a fresh lease of life.

ByVasu Gandikota

Published Dec 11, 2023 | 5:32 PMUpdatedDec 11, 2023 | 8:25 PM

Telangana BJP Bandi Sanjay

Is Bandi Sanjay Kumar likely to return as president of the Telangana unit of the BJP? Will the saffron party have an alliance with the BRS in the elections to the Lok Sabha in 2024?

The answer to the first question is probably Yes. And, the answer to the second is a definite No.

A week after the results to the Telangana Assembly, which saw the BRS being thrown out of power and the BJP performing far better than expected, the latter has already begun preparations for parliamentary polls due in April-May next year.

Related: BJP won 8 seats, doubled vote-share but Telangana cadre gloomy

Bandi Sanjay in Delhi

While Bandi Sanjay is already in Delhi and is expected to have a meeting with BJP national president JP Nadda, other senior leaders are also likely to visit the capital to brainstorm and finalise the strategy for the Lok Sabha elections.

The overwhelming view within the party is that the BJP would have fared much better if Bandi Sanjay was not replaced six months before the Assembly polls, largely on account of internal politics at the state level.

It is also a fact that Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, who replaced Bandi Sanjay, was clear that he would not like to continue in the position beyond the Assembly elections on the ground that he will not be able to give enough time and attention to the state.

Also, he would like to focus on his own Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency where the BJP has not won even a single Assembly seat.

The saffron party increased its tally in the Assembly from a meagre one to eight and notched up a cent percent increase in vote share from 7 to 14.

The party leadership strongly believes that the Narendra Modi factor will work much better in the Lok Sabha compared to Assembly polls and, therefore, would like to do everything to further strengthen the party in the coming months.

The party won four Lok Sabha seats in 2019 in the most unexpected fashion and is keen on gaining a few more this time round.

No benefit in tie-up with BRS

On the question of the relationship with the BRS, the saffron leaders are clear that results of Assembly polls should form the foundation to weaken the regional party with the ultimate goal of making the contest in Telangana a bipolar one between the Congress and the BJP.

“There is no point in giving a fresh lease of life to the BRS. We are very sure that a good number of legislators who won on the BRS symbol would switch to either the Congress or the BJP and it’s only a matter of time before the party finds itself at a crossroads,” a senior BJP leader told South First.

The thinking seems to be that the upcoming Lok Sabha polls should be the starting point in the process of converting the current triangular fight into a two-party one.

“When it comes to the Lok Sabha, people would make a choice between Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi (Congress). The BRS is neither with NDA or INDIA,” the senior functionary said, referring to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, and the newly-formed Opposition bloc.

He added that they would ask the obvious question as to why people should vote for BRS when the party has no role to play in Delhi, except for bargaining purposes.

It appears that there are feelers from the BRS seeking to know the scope for a possible tie-up with the BJP, but the latter is clear that it should go it alone even if “we get one or two seats less than our goal”.

Interestingly, BRS MLC and KCR’s daughter K Kavitha post a pro-Ram Mandir message on X (formerly Twitter), saying that the “dreams of millions of Hindus will come true with the installation of Ram idol” in Ayodhya.

Social media was quick to point out that this was diametrically opposite to her position a few years ago when she openly questioned how long the BJP would use the Ram Mandir issue for electoral gains.