Lok Sabha polls: BSP to contest Hyderabad and Nagarkurnool seats in alliance with BRS

A BRS release on Friday, 15 March, said Rao, also known as KCR, has allocated the two seats to the Bahujan Samaj Party.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 15, 2024 | 1:09 PMUpdatedMar 15, 2024 | 1:09 PM

Telangana BSP chief PRaveen Kumar with BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao on Tuesday, 5 March, 2024.

The BSP will contest the Hyderabad and Nagarkurnool Lok Sabha seats, out of the total of 17 constituencies in Telangana, as part of its alliance with the K Chandrashekar Rao-led BRS.

A BRS release on Friday, 15 March, said Rao, also known as KCR, has allocated the two seats to the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Telangana BSP president RS Praveen Kumar called on KCR at the latter’s Nandi Nagar residence on 5 March and decided to enter into a poll pact.

Interestingly, KCR was Praveen Kumar’s boss when the latter was in the Telangana government’s service.

He was an IPS officer and served as the secretary of the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society and Telangana Tribal Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society.

Also Read: KCR names 4 candidates for Lok Sabha polls

What lies ahead?

The BRS does not have a candidate in Nagarkurnool, as its sitting MP P Ramulu has left the party and joined the BJP. The saffron party has already announced his son Bharat’s name for the seat.

The Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency has been represented by the AIMIM since 1989 and by its current chief Asaduddin Owaisi since 2004 and his father Sultan Salahuddin Owaisi before him.

The BJP has nominated Madhavi Latha Kompella, the chairperson of Virinchi Hospitals, as its candidate.

After their meeting on 5 March, when a reporter asked whether Praveen Kumar would be contesting from Nagarkurnool, KCR countered by asking why not Peddapally, implying that he was not ready to spill the beans yet.

He said it had been decided in principle to have an alliance with the BSP. The nitty-gritty of seat-sharing would be decided in the next meeting after discussing the issue with BSP supremo Mayawati.

The alliance is expected to help the BRS more as it would prevent a possible split in the anti-Congress Dalit votes and thus help the pink party improve its prospects.

For Praveen Kumar, KCR’s image and the party’s network in the constituency that he would be contesting from would help brighten his chances of winning.

In Nagarkunrool, he will have to reckon with Mallu Ravi, who is raring to win the Lok Saha election from this constituency, riding the popularity wave of the Congress.

Also Read: PM Modi warns of ‘surgical strikes’ on Congress, BRS over Kaleshwaram

The Dalit pitch

After the meeting, KCR said the BRS and the BSP shared the same vision for the amelioration of Dalits.

“We have a history of working for the betterment of the living standards of Dalits. The BRS had introduced Dalit Bandhu in the state for their economic empowerment,” said the former chief minister.

He said he would talk to Mayavati in a day or two to formalise the poll deal. “At today’s meeting, we discussed the broad contours of fighting the elections for Lok Sabha together. We have not got around to the seat-sharing exercise,” he said.

Praveen Kumar said that the BSP had decided to have a truck with the BRS since the latter’s secular credentials were impeccable.

“There is now a threat to the country’s secular fabric from the BJP. The Congress, too, is looking more like the BJP. In these circumstances, aligning with the BRS would be in the best interest of secularism in Telangana,” he said.

(With PTI inputs)

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)