Hyderabad: The BJP is playing the BC card in Telangana with the saffron party’s promise that if voted to power in the state, it will make a leader from backward classes the chief minister.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement at an election rally in Suryapet is seen as an attempt to woo BC voters, who account for more than 50 percent of the state electorate.
In the first list of 52 candidates, the BJP has also given tickets to 20 candidates from the backward classes.
The BJP is likely to give 50 percent of the Assembly tickets to BCs. The central leadership is said to have accepted a proposal sent by state OBC Morcha in this regard.
Since both Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Congress failed to give tickets to many BCs, the BJP is looking to play the BC card by fielding 50 percent BC candidates.
The BC leaders in the party expect 40-50 tickets to their communities out of the around 80 general category seats in 119-member Assembly.
They claim that the BJP is more committed to BCs than BRS or Congress. “Our prime minister is himself a BC and there are 27 ministers from OBC communities in the Union Cabinet. What else is needed to prove our commitment towards the BCs,” asked BJP MLA Eatala Rajender, who is also the party’s state election management committee chairman.
Telangana polls: BJP’s CM will be from BCs, promises Amit Shah
The saffron party is also likely to make a slew of promises in its manifesto for the September 30 election.
By making the promise of a BC leader as the CM, the BJP is also training guns on BRS reminding its leader and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao of his promise to make a Dalit the first chief minister of Telangana.
At the Suryapet election rally, Amit Shah termed BRS as anti-Dalit and anti-BCs. He also reminded KCR of his promises of three acres of land each to Dalit families, Rs 50,000 crore budget for Scheduled Castes and Rs10,000 crore every year for welfare of BCs.
BJP general secretary and MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar has welcomed the announcement of Amit Shah.
“This is unheard of in the history of the state. Hope people of Telangana will make the right choice and bring the double engine government of the BJP to power,” he said.
Bandi Sanjay is one of the key BC leaders of BJP in Telangana. He was removed as state BJP president in July after demand from a section of leaders in the party.
The BJP under Bandi Sanjay’s leadership had emerged as a strong political force and till a few months ago was seen by many as an alternative to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). However, BJP’s defeat in Karnataka elections altered the scenario.
Sanjay’s supporters, who used to see him as the chief ministerial candidate, were upset with his removal as the state party president. The party, however, appointed him as the national general secretary.
Sanjay’s name figured in the first list of BJP candidates for the next month’s Assembly polls. The MP from Karimnagar will contest from Karimnagar Assembly constituency.
Rajya Sabha member K. Laxman is another prominent BJP leader from the backward classes. He is the national president of BJP’s OBC Morcha.
Laxman, who was last year nominated to the Lok Sabha from Uttar Pradesh, had earlier headed the state BJP unit.
He was twice elected from the Musheerabad constituency in Hyderabad. He was first elected in 1999 and the second time in 2014. Laxman was the BJP floor leader between 2014 and 2016. Following the party policy of one person one post, he gave up his leadership position in the Assembly in 2016 following his appointment as the BJP state president.
Laxman also served as the general secretary of the BJP in united Andhra Pradesh, twice between 2002 and 2010. He also held the position of BJP national secretary. In 2020, he was appointed BJP’s OBC Morcha national president.
Laxman hailed the announcement of a BC community Chief Minister. “This is a historic pledge. There is no chance for BCs to come up politically in the BRS and the Congress.”
Lok Sabha member from Nizamabad, D. Arvind is also a BC leader. Son of former minister and senior Congress leader D. Srinivas, Arvind emerged a giant killer by defeating Chief Minister KCR’s daughter K. Kavitha in Nizamabad constituency in 2019 polls.
Arvind has been named as the party candidate from the Koratla Assembly constituency.