For some days now, the buzz was that the BJP meeting in Hyderabad on 18 August with party working president JP Nadda presiding over it, would spell the end of the Telugu Desam in Telangana. The talk among BJP cadre was that the entire residue of TDP would join the BJP in Nadda’s presence. Added to that was the talk of some BJP-turned-Congress leaders also doing a ghar waapsi.
But it looks like nothing of the sort is happening. The only prominent former TDP face who will be moving into the BJP camp on Sunday will be former minister and SC leader M Narasimhulu. The hope is that he would help counter the narrative that the BJP is not a SC-friendly party. But Narasimhulu is such a has-been politician that he brings no heft.
With most TDP leaders having joined the TRS or the Congress, the TDP is so poor in human resources that the party now finds it difficult to even get a spokesperson to address press conferences regularly. But party chief L Ramana and senior leaders R Chandrasekhar Reddy and Devender Goud are staying put in the TDP for now.
Goud, who has not been keeping good health, wants to ensure a take-off for his son, Veerender Goud. He contested from Uppal assembly constituency on the TDP ticket in 2018 assembly elections and lost. The BJP that is keen on the BC leader says the Goud family will take time to make up its mind.
Vijayshanthi who has over the years, moved from the BJP to Talli Telangana to TRS to the Congress is now reportedly looking to return to her original home. The firebrand actress who won the National award for best actress for her role in Kartavyam in 1990, is in the news these days for her comeback into Tollywood with Sarileru Neekevvaru where Mahesh Babu is playing the lead.
“She is eager to join but she wants a definite assurance from the BJP leadership on what her role in the party will be. She wants that spelt out clearly unlike the first time where she was part of the women’s wing and basically seen as a star campaigner,” said a BJP leader, privy to the discussions. Vijayshanthi was part of the campaign committee for the Congress in the elections in Telangana.
Dr Nagam Janardhan Reddy is another name being mentioned in BJP circles. He was Health minister in Chandrababu Naidu’s cabinet in united Andhra Pradesh. A vocal critic of K Chandrasekhar Rao, he joined the BJP but finding no space for growth, moved to the Congress. He hails from Nagarkurnool in south Telangana.
But all this has not stopped the BJP from claiming that close to 20 TRS legislators are in touch with it. In the light of the poor show expected on Sunday, many wonder if the BJP is indulging in mindgames to worry the TRS.
In the long run, the BJP will also eye leaders from the Reddy community, all of who are sailing with the Congress for now. These include the Komatireddy brothers, Revanth Reddy and Vishweshwar Reddy.