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BJP steps up preparation for 2019 Telangana polls

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-06-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has begun aggressively reconstituting and reorganizing its booth-level committees across Telangana well ahead of the 2019 assembly and general elections, after a visit last month by party president Amit Shah.

The BJP has only five MLAs in the 119-member Telangana assembly and just one Lok Sabha seat—Secunderabad, represented by labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya.

Under the Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Karya Vistar Yojana, the BJP has been setting up booth-level committees for all the 32,000 polling booths in Telangana. Booth-level reconstitution work and interactions with the public started on 29 May after Shah’s visit, and the party expects to complete the task by 15 June, said BJP legislator Ramchander Rao.

“So far about 19,000 booths have been covered by our party and we expect to finish work in at least 25,000 in the coming few days. Under this programme, we are also going door-to-door and informing people about various schemes brought out by the central government,” said Rao.

BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao also said that about 80,000 party workers across the state have been working to ensure that the BJP is strong at the polling-booth level. “The massive groundwork has been undertaken primarily to ensure that our booth level committees are revitalized and strong,” he added.

Rao added that the BJP will attempt to form a government on its own in the 2019 assembly elections and will not contest with its alliance partner, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Rao said that being an alliance partner with the TDP for over three decades (in the erstwhile state of Andhra Pradesh prior to 2014) had weakened the party in Telangana.

“We had legacy issues. BJP has suffered severe political losses due to its alliance with the TDP since its inception. The cadre were disappointed and demotivated with no possibility of contesting elections across the spectrum from local bodies to the parliament,” said Krishna Saagar Rao.

A senior TDP leader, who asked not to be named, said that alliances are only decided when elections are approaching. “Also, the BJP has always been the smaller partner in the alliance, so maybe, as a party its leaders feel that they need to get stronger. We can’t find fault with that. Let us see what happens in 2019,” he added.

K. Kavitha, a lawmaker representing the Nizamabad Lok Sabha seat from the Telanagana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), said her party will win over 100 seats if elections are held now. The projection was based on a survey conducted by the TRS a few weeks ago.

“People have given us wonderful encouragement with the survey. We have hardly lost elections (municipal and bypolls after coming to power) and won with a huge majority. It shows the people have faith in our party. Let any party come and campaign —that is their right,” she said.

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