BJP looking to emerge as a potent alternative in Andhra Pradesh by 2019
Hyderabad: Elections in Andhra Pradesh are far away but BJP president Amit Shah is said to be meticulously getting a political plan executed to make the saffron party a formidable force in the state by 2019.
The BJP may be an ally of the TDP now, sharing power both in the state and at the Centre, but emerging as the "only alternative" to the ruling party in AP is an ambitious plan that Shah seemingly has chalked out for the party.
Caste calculations have been worked out and leaders who fit into the grand plan have been identified to make BJP stronger across the state, party sources said.
Interestingly, BJP is seeking to rope in known "Babu baiters" into its fold to 'check' TDP head and Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu if not frustrate him in the long run.
Already, former minister Kanna Lakshmi Narayana from Guntur district has joined the saffron ranks and BJP insiders say others like former CM N Kiran Kumar Reddy and former PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana may also jump onto the bandwagon sooner or later. Their dislike for Chandrababu is well-known.
Like Kanna, if Kiran and Botsa too join the BJP as is being speculated, it will be a bitter pill for Chandrababu to swallow, they said.
Unlike in 1999, the BJP is not dependent on him now. Rather, he is dependent on the Centre to re-build the truncated state, as he was voted to power precisely for that.
And, the biggest trump card for the BJP may come in the form of film star Pawan Kalyan, one of the staunch admirers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Kalyan floated his own political outfit Jana Sena ahead of the May elections but he threw his lot behind the TDP-BJP combine.
The Prime Minister widely acknowledged Kalyan's role in turning the tide in favour of the combine and now, in concert with Shah, is said to be working on the plan to get the star completely into their fold.
Being a Kapu, Kalyan can largely influence the political scene in the two Godavari districts where the community is dominant besides spreading his clout to north coastal districts.
"Kalyan's charisma works across AP and not just these districts. But here, he can hold the key," a senior BJP leader said.