The perception that the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are moving closer is suffocating the new entrants into the BJP and a situation is emerging where anti-KCR faces are forced to look at other options including approaching the Congress.
Names of former MLA from Munugode Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy and former minister and Huzurabad MLA Eatala Rajender are doing the round. Both are said to be miffed with the paty leadership for what they perceive ‘soft stance’ towards the BRS. Going by their growing dissatisfaction, it may not be a surprise if they part ways with the BJP and even join the Congress ahead of the year-end Assembly elections.
“That they are annoyed with the BJP-BRS closeness is known and it is also a fact that they might soon leave the BJP. However, a final decision is yet to be taken,” a senior leader close to Mr. Rajgopal Reddy confirmed. “They are in touch and have discussed the probability of leaving the BJP a few times and want to prepare the ground before joining the Congress, which is the only option to defeat the BRS in Telangana,” he claimed.
Some senior leaders in the Munugode constituency, which was vacated by Mr. Rajgopal Reddy as a Congress MLA and contested on a BJP ticket ultimately losing to the BRS candidate, said the cadre also wants Mr. Reddy to return to his parent party – Congress.
Similar is the case with Mr. Rajender, who resigned as BRS MLA from Huzurabad and contested on the BJP ticket to defeat the BRS in a politically surcharged atmosphere. “His followers too are apparently unable to digest that the BJP and BRS are moving closer and Mr. Rajender cannot ignore this fact as it would be a political suicide for him if he continues in the BJP,” a close associate claimed. “Even while attending funerals in his constituency his followers are involving him in this discussion forcing him to respond. Such is the pressure on him,” a source close to Mr. Rajender said.
However, Mr. Rajender has so far not committed to the cadre about leaving the BJP. “He is comforting them saying this is not the time to discuss leaving the party. So far he has not committed but Congress is definitely wooing him, which will be to his advantage in his constituency,” a leader close to BJP told The Hindu.
Sources said Mr. Rajgopal Reddy also had approached Mr. Rajender to consider leaving the BJP but the commitment is yet to come from him.
What made these leaders annoyed is the hype created by the central BJP leadership over the imminent arrest of BRS MLC and Chief Minister KCR’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha only to be diluted. “People believe that by not arresting Kavitha in the Delhi liquor policy case, as was threatened by the State BJP leadership, a clear message is sent about the non-seriousness with which the BJP is dealing with the BRS,” a senior leader involved in the process said.
Mr. Rajgopal Reddy is said to have told his followers that despite his sacrifice to resign from his seat to take on the mighty BRS in the state, the central BJP leadership has failed to recognise him. The local leadership has totally ignored him and he is unable to digest it. The ongoing tussle between BJP State chief Bandi Sanjay and Mr. Rajender and the latter being ‘denied’ the post of Campaign Committee Chairman has only led him to believe that his services would not be utilised.
The new enthusiasm of the Congress after the Karnataka results and the perception changing fast that Congress was back in the reckoning also influenced these leaders to consider Congress as the only option. A senior Congress leader also admitted that Mr. Komatireddy Venkata Reddy, MP and brother of Mr. Rajgopal Reddy also discussed their entry during his recent meeting with Priyanka Gandhi.