Can BJP emerge stronger in AP?
The target before the AP unit of the BJP is to emerge stronger. The party found, as many visualise, a political vacuum in the state politics. There is a huge gap between the ruling YSR Congress and the opposition TDP in the state, both in the numbers in Assembly and in terms of activities at the grassroots.
The cadre-based TDP is now inflicted with the lack of leaders, particularly after the party’s humiliating defeat in the 2019 general elections. Some top leaders of the party have left it while key activists have become politically inactive in the state, for their own reasons.
Added to these, the party chief, Chandrababu Naidu is in physical isolation restricting himself to Hyderabad, mostly due to the coronavirus and partly due to his age and health. He could not make it to Visakhapatnam to console the family members of those who were killed in the LG Polymers gas leak even as he took police permission in May.
Though he is trying to keep the rank and file active through his online interactions, this is not enough to keep the party vibrant in the state politics.
The second leadership in the party banks on Nara Lokesh, who has become politically incapable to handle the issues, particularly the rank and file. This leaves a lot of vacuum in the state politics and it is here the BJP wants to settle down.
BJP strategist and national general secretary V Ram Madhav had said that the party has to step into the shoes of the TDP as main opposition. He said that the TDP had failed to be the main opposition in the state and found a place for the BJP.
BJP’s new president in AP, Somu Veerraju, too visualises a political vacuum in the state and wants to fit in. However, unlike in the northern states, people in south, particularly in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala are not in favour of the saffron party. Motivated, enlightened and inspired by Left and rational movements, it is difficult for the people here to patronise BJP.
It is to be seen how the BJP would convert these adverse situations for its political gains and emerge stronger, as anticipated by the leaders.