HYDERABAD: The BJP seems to be caught in a piquant situation, grappling with the nitty-gritty of election campaigning while some party leaders are worried that the much-needed coordination on the ground between its candidate Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy’s long-time supporters and the BJP’s own cadres is yet to fall into place.
Despite the fact that the BJP has backed Rajgopal Reddy, as have national leaders such as Union home minister Amit Shah, some party leaders say there are too many programmes underway for the BJP’s state leaders to plunge into the Munugode campaign. “We are continuing with our Praja Gosa motorbike rallies, then there is the Seva Paksham that started on September 17, and of course our state president’s Praja Sangrama Yatra,” a party leader said. According to some BJP leaders, these and other activities were stretching the party’s resources.
For the time being, everyone in the state BJP was waiting for the fourth phase of state party chief Bandi Sanjay’s padayatra to end on September 22, hoping that once that is concluded they can pay more attention to Munugode. However, conversations with a cross-section of party functionaries revealed that the party’s challenge in Munugode will be the coming together of Congress followers and leaders who have previously worked with Rajgopal Reddy when he was in that party, and the BJP’s own cadres in the constituency.
“There is some reluctance on part of Rajgopal Reddy’s team in accepting all that the BJP can offer in terms of ground level support as he has his own followers’ sentiments of not being overrun by the BJP. In some ways, he wants to run his own show, he wants to ensure that the message goes that he is still a force to reckon with on his own. From his point of view, it is perfectly legitimate that he wants to ensure primacy for his own followers, but this has resulted in some discomfort on both sides,” a party source close to Sanjay, revealed.
However, Rajgopal Reddy, as well as the BJP’s constituency in-charge and former MP G. Vivek Venkatswamy, were confident that there were no problems and that everyone was working together to ensure the BJP won the Munugode bypoll. “I am getting very good support from the BJP in the constituency and we are working together,” Rajgopal Reddy said, adding, “We will win with a thumping majority in Munugode. The result will be a game changer and historic.”
According to Venkatswamy, there were concerns in Munugode when Rajgopal Reddy announced his decision to quit the Congress and join the BJP, as the constituency was a Congress stronghold, but after the Amit Shah public meeting in Munugode on August 21, where Rajgopal Reddy formally joined the BJP, people gradually began to veer around.
People began to understand when they saw funds being released for the constituency and projects being undertaken rapidly with the prospect of a byelection. They now understand that development activities in Munugode have only come about as a result of the bypoll, he said.
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