BJP positions itself as development torchbearer in Seemandhra
Hyderabad: Seeking to translate support announced by Telugu stars Pavan Kalyan and Nagarjuna to its PM nominee Narendra Modi into building goodwill for the party in Seemandhra post division of Andhra Pradesh, the BJP is going all out to woo voters in the region on the development plank.
On top of it, possible alliance with Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP is expected to further boost the electoral prospects of the saffron party, which was largely a small player in previous elections in Seemandhra (coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema), dominated by the Congress and TDP.
The coming elections in the region are widely seen as a direct fight between the TDP and YSR Congress, with Congress projected to be routed for its strident support for the creation of separate Telangana state.
"The issue of alliances (with TDP) is likely to be clear in another two-three days," Seemandhra BJP Chief K Haribabu told a news agency in an interview.
The party has earned public goodwill though it consistently supported formation of separate Telangana, by insisting on the UPA government to provide a comprehensive development package for residuary state.
The determined bid of M Venkaiah Naidu, who belongs to Coastal Andhra, in Rajya Sabha for obtaining assurances from the Prime Minister for development of Seemandhra, has not gone unnoticed in the region, which has 25 Lok Sabha and 175 Assembly seats and would go to polls simultaneously on May 7.
"There is a lot of goodwill for BJP in the name of Modiji. The people of Seemandhra feel that it is BJP which can implement the assurances given to the region. People do not have confidence in Congress," Haribabu said.
In a huge boost to BJP in Seemandhra, top Telugu hero Pavan Kalyan, who recently launched Jana Sena Party, recently met Modi in Ahmedabad and announced his support to the Gujarat CM`s PM bid.
He was followed by Telugu superstar Nagarjuna Akkineni, though not in active politics, who met Modi on March 24 and hailed the BJP stalwart.
Acknowledging that there is a "feel good" factor following these developments, Haribabu, however, said his party has to work hard to put up a good show in the elections.
Besides the support from the two popular actors, former Union minister D Purandeswari, daughter of legendary NT Rama Rao, had quit Congress and joined the BJP, which already has the likes of yesteryear actors Krishnam Raju and Jeevitha in its ranks in Seemandhra.
Haribabu said no plan of Pavan Kalyan campaigning for BJP has been firmed up yet.
The Jana Sena founder is holding the maiden public meeting of his party on March 27 in Visakhapatnam.
Asked when Modi would campaign in Seemandhra, he said the central leadership of BJP would decide on campaigning by the top leaders.
Asked what the party`s USP in Seemandhra as it has been consistent in supporting Telangana,
Haribabu said the issue of division has taken a backseat in the regions now and the focus is now on development.
"Division is secondary. Development is the priority now and who will facilitate development is the issue. We are appealing to the people to elect BJP candidates as the party is going to come to power at the Centre. That benefits Seemandhra," he said.
In addition to the top national BJP leaders, Purandeswari, Venkaiah Naidu and Krishnam Raju would be the star campaigners for the party.
Asked about reports that Union minister Kavuri Sambasiva Rao and former APCC president Botsa Satyanarayana have sought to join BJP, he said, "some people are talking to the party leadership and nothing is final as yet".
BJP launched a poll campaign in Visakhapatnam yesterday highlighting the development agenda of the party for Seemandhra region.
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