The ruling BJP government is targeting to win over 400 seats in the upcoming general elections under its ‘Mission 2019’. To achieve this, in 2017, the BJP President Amit Shah conducted 95-day all-India tour. Before starting his journey, he told PTI, “We have also set a target of (winning) 120 seats where we had lost in 2014. My tour will focus on taking stock of our organisational strength and further expansion of ideology and electoral appeal across the country.”
The BJP’s mission 400 is not possible without expanding its base in Southern states of India. The BJP displayed spectacular show in Karnataka assembly elections where it emerged as the single largest party but failed to form the government as rival JD(S) and the Congress formed an unholy alliance in order to keep the BJP out of power. Karnataka is considered as the gateway to the South and the BJP’s spectacular performance in the state has opened the gates of other southern states for the BJP. The two states where the BJP can enter the fold in the future are Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, due to the comparative political transparency in the states.
However, in the past the BJP has failed to develop its strong cadre and political base in the then united Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana) mainly because of it’s over reliance on its former ally- TDP. Before 1999, the BJP’s performance in the united Andhra Pradesh was satisfactory. In 1998 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won four seats with 19% vote share and in 1999 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won seven seats with a 10% vote share in alliance with the TDP. After that BJP’s political fortune in the state only registered decline.
In 2014, Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh. The BJP won only one seat-Secundrabad constituency– of the newly formed state, while it won two seats in Andhra Pradesh in an alliance with the TDP. However, now the picture is different, the BJP is no longer in alliance with the TDP which is good riddance for the saffron party. TDP was nothing but a liability for the BJP in Telangana. The BJP is capable of registering a significant improvement in its performance in the state on its own.
The BJP won only one seat in Telangana but it enjoys a significant influence in constituencies such as Karimnagar, Mahbubnagar and Hyderabad also. The BJP candidate, Dr. Bhagavanth Rao, got 32.05% votes in Hyderabad in 2014 general elections. In constituencies such as -Bhongir, Medak, Karimnagar and Warangal– the BJP’s vote share were between 15 to 20 per cent. In Nizamabad and Mahabubnagar, the BJP’s vote share was 21.79 percent and 26.88 percent, respectively.
In the Telangana assembly elections, the BJP won 5 assembly seats. Four of which it won in Hyderabad district. On almost all the conquered constituencies, the BJP’s vote share was more than 50%. Recently the student wing of RSS- the ABVP- swept Hyderabad University Students’ Union polls after a long gap of eight years. This victory marks a great shift in the ideological orientation of the university that has been dominated by venomous leftist forces. It also shows that ‘saffron’ is gaining popularity among the youths of the university. This victory will help saffron forces to spread their clout in metropolitan Hyderabad and rest of the state. This shift of mood of Hyderabad Central University is likely to be reflected in the upcoming elections outside the university premise as well. Not to forget that youths are the agents of change. Youths’ support behind the BJP and its PM candidate Narendra Modi was one of the reasons behind the shellacking of the Congress in 2014 general elections. If the youths can throw Congress out of power then they can also do the same with the TRS. The Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP is going to hold its mega convention in Telangana. It will serve two purposes, first it will increase the influence of the BJP among youths of the state and second it will gain success in attracting first time voters. The three day event will be attended by at least 15 central ministers and 10 chief ministers of BJP-ruled states.
— Poonam Mahajan (@poonam_mahajan) October 12, 2018
आज हैदराबाद में भारतीय जनता युवा मोर्चा के 'युवा महा अधिवेशन' की 'ऑनलाइन रजिस्ट्रेशन' का शुभारंभ किया।
आप भी 8866001756 पर मिस कॉल देकर रजिस्ट्रेशन कर सकते हैं। pic.twitter.com/hpSj0KpZTb
— Poonam Mahajan (@poonam_mahajan) October 12, 2018
In the upcoming election, The BJP has strong chances to emerge as a giant force in Telangana politics. It has also started working in that direction and holding BJYM convention in Hyderabad and spectacular deployment of its resources are few example of this. It will try its level best to win Telangana. As BJP’s Telangana spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao pointed out that the state is the pivotal point for its consolidation in the South, just as Assam and Manipur were in Northeast. He further added, “We need a clean sweep in one southern state, which we think is Telangana, so that Kerala and Tamil Nadu can follow suit first and then AP in 2024.”
Along with spreading its base in Telangana, the BJP is also attacking the Muslim appeasement politics of Telangana CM, KCR. The BJP knows that there is anger among people of Telangana against the appeasement politics of the CM. Recently, the BJP President Amit Shah lambasted Telangana CM KCR for not celebrating 17th September as Hyderabad Liberation Day due to fear of AIMIM. Invoking Telugu Pride, Amit Shah said, “People who talk about Telugu pride stopped celebrating Telangana Liberation Day on September 17 because KCR is scared of MIM and its president Asaduddin Owaisi.” He also said that a party that comes under pressure from Owaisi and AIMIM can never protect the pride and honour of Telangana. Amit Shah promised that if the BJP is voted to power in Telangana then it would celebrate grand Telangana Liberation Day in the entire country.
TRS govt stopped celebrating 17th September as Hyderabad Liberation day due to the fear of AIMIM. A party that comes under pressure from Owaisi and AIMIM, can never protect the pride and honour of Telangana: Shri @AmitShah pic.twitter.com/0f5At4rhy9
— BJP (@BJP4India) September 16, 2018
For more details: Amit Shah slams KCR for not celebrating Hyderabad Liberation Day
When it comes to Muslim appeasement, KCR is perfect competitor of Mamata Banerjee and Chandrababu Naidu. He promised to give 12% quota to Muslims in employment and education, he tried his level best to implement but failed to do so because Supreme Court has capped the total reservations at 50 per cent. Along with that, for the ‘welfare of the Muslims’ his government allocated Rs. 1,250 crores in annual budget. As if it was not enough his government took many other steps exclusively for the welfare of Muslims. In his message, at the annual conference of All India Muslim Education Society (AIMES), he listed the ‘revolutionary steps’ taken by his government for Muslims. According to KCR, “One revolutionary step initiated by us is setting up of large number of Minority Residential Schools – 206 such high quality Residential schools are already a reality. More than 50,000 students are enrolled in these schools and on each student the cost spent is Rs. 65,000. This is in addition to the infrastructure cost of a minimum of Ac. 5.00 of land and Rs. 20 Crores to build each school. Fifty per cent of these schools are exclusively for girls. This will tremendously empower the Muslim women in a short time. Ultimately 1,35,000 students each year will get benefit with high quality education along with sports, nutrition, Clothing, etc., through these schools.” He further added, “Telangana Government reimburses the Tuition fee for Minority students on par with SC, ST and OBC students. Rs.200 crores is allocated and for this purpose. In addition, the state government pays Pre Metric Scholarships for Minority Students. Another innovative step is providing a grant of Rs. 20 lakhs in the form of Overseas Scholarship to each Minority student getting educated in Foreign Universities. Rs.40 crores allocated annually. This will transform lives of hundreds of meritorious students.”
KCR government of the state also bears the cost of training 100 selected candidates belonging from the so-called minority community in standard institutions for civil services exams and also for other competitive exams. To encourage entrepreneurship among minority youth, Telangana government launched T-PRIME scheme and allocated Rs. 25 crores in the budget.
A grant of Rs.75,116 is provided to each deserving Muslim girl under “Shaadi Mubarak Scheme” for marriage expenses. Around 70,000 girls got the benefit of this scheme. He also distributed new clothes to 4 lakh Muslim families during Ramzan.
In his message, he proudly claimed that the Telangana State stands first in promotion and development of Urdu language. “Assistance is given to Urdu writers, poets, journalists and small newspapers, value of prestigious Makhdoom Award is enhanced to Rs.2.25 lakhs. Similarly Moulana Abul kalam Azad Award worth Rs.2.25 Lakhs is also awarded to eminent personalities every year. To promote and encourage Urdu Education “Best Urdu Teachers and Best Urdu Students Awards are sanctioned every year. Infrastructure facilities are also provided to the Urdu Medium Schools. To further improve the conditions of Urdu Medium Schools the State Government is considering a proposal to transfer these Schools to the Minorities Welfare Department, so that these schools are managed in a better way. He also added, an Honorarium of Rs.1,500 per month is being released to 10,000 Imams and Mouzzins in the State.
All this is being done to appease Muslims and consolidate Muslim votes in his favor, while Hindus of the state continues to suffer due to negligence of the state government. If consolidation of Muslim votes can take place then consolidation of Hindu votes can also happen. The BJP’s strategy in Telangana would be to “expose Muslim appeasement” by the ruling TRS. The BJP has opposed the Telangana government’s recent proposal to provide 12 percent reservation in colleges and jobs to Muslims. To further consolidate Hindu votes, what BJP need is strong, crowd puller local face. The BJP so far lacked a recognizable face in Telangana. There is speculation that Swami Paripoornananda of the Shree Peetham in Kakinada may officially join the BJP after Dussehra. Entry of Swami Paripoornanand fulfils that requirement. Swami Paripoornananda is also called as the Yogi of South. He also reportedly met with party general secretary Ram Madhav and UP CM Yogi Adityanath. If rumors are to be believed then the BJP might declare him as the chief ministerial candidate from Telangana. There are also rumors that the saffron party will ask him to contest Lok Sabha elections also either from Secunderabad or from Hyderabad. Swamy is very popular in Hyderabad region. He received grand welcome on his re-entry into the city.
Swami Paripoornananda- “Yogi of the South”- is very popular among Hindus and tribal communities of the region. Swami Paripoornananda is a well known Hindu figure in almost all the southern states with millions of followers. His devotion to country is admired by many people. His entry into BJP would improve the party’s prospects in the state of Telangana as well as outside the state in other regions of the south. What BJP needs in the south is a crowd puller, a popular leader, Swami Paripoornananda could fulfill that void at least in Telangana and Andhra region. His Hindutva would work as an antithesis to KCR’s appeasement.
There is a real chance PM Modi’s popularity, Amit Shah’s astute political strategy, and Swami Paripoornananda can pull off what PM Modi+Yogi+Amit Shah did in UP.
Even if the BJP does not get the majority but successfully manages to make a sizeable dent and pose real threat to the ruling TRS then it will emerge as the principal opposition in the state and thus one more state will become ‘Congress Mukt’. Although, the TDP and the Congress have aligned to take on the TRS but people know very well that they both are birds of same the feather. TDP is no less than KCR when it comes to appeasing Muslims and the Congress party and its leaders are notorious for Muslim appeasement. It remains to be seen whether these apparently favorable conditions would translate into votes on the ground but so far, BJP is clearly in the running for Telangana.
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