BJP prefers Jagan Mohan Reddy over K Chandrashekhar Rao in south

Hyderabad: The BJP national leadership thinks that it is not wise to open a two-pronged battlefronts simu-ltaneously in the Telugu states, and therefore, has decided to continue cordial relations with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy while taking the battle against Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao to the next level of intensity.

The BJP national leadership seems to have made up its mind on the issue; that when it comes to choosing between the two, Mr Rao and Mr Reddy, the YSRC party chief is a more reliable ally. The appointment of Mr Reddy as a member of standing committee of inter-state council (ISC) is a strong indication of this approach. Mr Reddy is the only representative on this committee from the south of India, of which, Union home minister Amit Shah is chairman.

Compared to the AP Chief Minister, if it came to choosing an experienced leader, the Telang-ana CM is far more experienced in both politics and administrative aspects. However, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice on the matter is a clear indication of BJP’s thinking — befriend Jagan Mohan Reddy while fighting Chandrashekar Rao.

The standing committee of inter-state council is a body that pragmatic resolves and strengthens the idea of cooperative federalism by dealing with inter-state disputes and suggest ways and measures to resolve them. The standing committee consists of three other chief ministers besides Mr Reddy — Naveen Patnaik (Odisha),  Amarendar Singh (Punjab) and Nitish Kumar (Bihar); none of them being BJP chief ministers, though Mr Kumar is an NDA leader.

Interestingly, when it comes to the dynamics of the BJP’s relationship with Telugu chieftans, in the previous term, Prime Minister Modi and Telangana Chief Minister has very cordial relations. But after retaining power for a second term, both Mr Modi at the Centre and Mr Rao in his state found a new strain developing bet-ween these two, a yawning gap widening by the day.

The reason for the birth of mistrust, and lost camaraderie, perhaps lies in the strategy adopted and the conduct of Mr Rao during the Lok Sabha elections, wherein he proposed a Federal Front against both the BJP and the Congress.

He intensified political activity aimed at preventing Mr Modi from becoming the Prime Minister by meeting chief ministers and prominent leaders of regional parties in different parts of the country.

During the election campaign too, Mr Rao made serious allegations and severely criticised Mr Modi.

In the previous term, the Telangana boss enjoyed a good rapport with Mr Modi and other senior leaders in the BJP, even as the BJP stifled if not arm-twisted its own ally, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Mr Naidu was made to wait for over a one year for getting an appointment with the Prime Minister, even as Mr Rao got several meetings during the same time.

Now the affinities have changed. Mr Modi’s choice of a friend in the Telugu states is not chief minister of Telangana but the leader of the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

The political view of the BJP, opine analysts and experts, has to do more with political calculations and compulsions over merely the personal chemistry, and it souring.

Calculations are that over Andhra Pradesh, the BJP fancies its chances of strengthening its party and taking on the strong ruling party in Telangana, to fill the vaccum being created wherein the opposition party, the Congress, is getting weaker each day, marked by desertions of leaders and cadre.

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