On 7 June, newly appointed Union minister of state for Home, G Kishan Reddy will arrive in home town Hyderabad for the first time after assuming charge in New Delhi. And it is obvious the BJP and Reddy personally want to make it an occasion to remember, a show of strength of sorts. After all, it was the first time in 21 years that the BJP contesting alone won four Lok Sabha seats in Telangana or Andhra Pradesh.
The BJP ignores that it could not make a mark in either the Assembly elections in December 2018 or the local bodies elections in May 2019. It draws confidence from its Lok Sabha performance and believes it can do a Tripura in Telangana in 2023 when the next assembly elections are held. The Bengal template is another ready reckoner for the Telangana unit to emulate where the BJP was successful in nudging out the Left and the Congress and has emerged as the principal challenger to Mamata Banerjee.
The BJP realises that with the Congress weakening in Telangana and nationally, a political vacuum exists in the opposition space and the saffron party aims to challenge the rule of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
In this BJP battle, Kishan Reddy wants to emerge as the leading light. So that come 2023, he can pitch himself as a frontrunner for the CM’s post in Telangana. His high-profile ministry, he knows, will help him do that.
Sources say the BJP leadership has asked him to focus not only in Telangana but even in Andhra, where the BJP does not have a single MLA or MP or representation in the Union ministry. Reddy has been lucky that unlike Bandaru Dattatreya, the previous MP from Secunderabad who got the low profile Labour portfolio, the Home ministry will allow Reddy to be in the limelight much more.
From Reddy’s perspective, it is important to do so. The BJP in order to strengthen itself in Telangana would be looking to poach leaders with a mass following from the TRS and the Congress. And Kishan Reddy having risen through the ranks from a karyakarta to a central minister, would not want to lose out to someone who makes a lateral entry into the BJP.
On June 7 therefore, when Hyderabad will be awash with Kishan Reddy posters, remember, he could well be the man to watch out for in the next five years and beyond.