In a major organisational reshuffle ahead of assembly and general elections in the two Telugu states, the BJP on Tuesday appointed Union minister G Kishan Reddy as party president of Telangana replacing Bandi Sanjay Kumar while in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh former Union minister D Purandeswari was appointed new state president.
Both appointments were made with immediate effect. While replacement of Bandi Sanjay Kumar as party’s Telangana president was expected in the wake of dissent in the ranks against him, D Purandeswari’s appointment as AP unit chief came as a surprise, sealing the fate of a BJP-TDP alliance.
Bandi Sanjay, who was facing outright rebellion from other state leaders not only lost his post but lost it to his bête noire within BJP, Etela Rajender, who was appointed as the chairman of election management committee for Telangana Assembly.
In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP doesn’t seem to be too keen to form an alliance with N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP for the elections slated next year. Hence, it chose D Purandeswari, daughter of NT Rama Rao. Purandeswari though is related to Naidu, the two are usually found in opposite camps.
In Telangana, the dissent against Bandi Sanjay Kumar, particularly by lateral entrants from other parties like BRS and Congress, forced the national leadership to bring back G Kishan Reddy, who has a long experience of handling the state unit. Bandi Sanjay, as a RSS man, relied on staunch Hindutva and BJP witnessed quite a few electoral gains in both bypolls and Hyderabad civic elections, but many in the party believe that in Telangana polarisation will only benefit the BJP in some pockets in the upcoming assembly elections slated to be held in December.
The state unit was plagued by dissidence with other MLAs, particularly those who have joined the party recently, and were venting their ire publicly. They ran the risk of being poached by Congress. G Kishan Reddy who headed the BJP twice between 2010 and 2014 in the unified Andhra Pradesh and later as first party president of Telangana unit was brought back to end the tug of war between Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar and BRS turned BJP MLA Etela Rajender.
The national leadership also chose to appoint Etela Rajender as chairman of the Election Management Committee of the Telangana BJP for the upcoming Assembly elections after heeding to his discontent.
Bandi Sanjay is expected to be accommodated in the Union cabinet since Reddy was the sole minister from Telangana heading Tourism and DONER.
While Bandi Sanjay’s removal as state party chief was expected, in case of Andhra Pradesh, incumbent chief Somu Veerraju was taken aback when he was called up by the BJP national president JP Nadda on Tuesday morning and told to send in his resignation.
The national leadership chose former Union minister D Purandeswari, who is the daughter of NT Rama Rao, as the next state president. However, this has put a question mark on the possibility of an alliance between BJP and TDP since the equation between Purandeswari and her brother-in-law (sister’s husband) N Chandrababu Naidu isn’t at all hunky dory.
Former chief minister of unified Andhra Pradesh N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has joined the BJP recently, was also appointed member of National Executive Committee of BJP.