No TRS MLA ready to join BJP; tall claims of Bandi Sanjay fall short of credibility

Little did the politically esurient BJP achieve since the boisterous proclamation by the party's Telangana

No TRS MLA ready to join BJP; tall claims of Bandi Sanjay fall short of credibility

Little did the politically esurient Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) achieve since the boisterous proclamation by the party's Telangana unit president Bandi Sanjay Kumar that several legislators and senior leaders from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) would crossover to the BJP. Those who echoed similar views to buttress his claim in the BJP are a legion.

But, ironically, nobody worth his salt did consider even remotely the idea of crossing the floor, leaving the BJP to pick up crumbs (mandal level leaders) and project them in magnifying glass as "leaders with a huge mass base".

To the utter chagrin of the top brass of the BJP, neither 'mass' nor 'class' leaders are turning out to be turncoats.

The BJP has been hoping large scale exodus from the TRS into the party. Barring Etela Rajender, none of them from the TRS, who is currently in office of an elected position, has left or planning to leave the ruling dispensation. At least, for now.

Bandi Sanjay launched his "Praja Sangrama yatra" on August 28, 2021. He had announced repeatedly in the last one year that a lot of TRS legislators would join the ranks of the BJP, deserting K Chandrashekar Rao.

As latest as on August 4 this year too, Bandi Sanjay claimed at Bhongir public meeting, as part of the third leg of his padayatra, that over a dozen TRS MLAs would join the BJP and there would be a series of by-elections in Telangana.

Etela named HR Head for talent acquisition

In fact, the BJP appointed a "HR Head" tasked with poaching TRS leaders. The former Finance Minister Etela Rajender was endowed with the responsibility of head hunting in the capacity of Convener of the "joining a committee" on July 5 this year to accelerate the defections. Perhaps no other political party has ever considered in its wildest of thoughts to have a head for "talent acquisition" _a la _ corporates. However, the recruitment drive has been tardy.

Rajender has been using his "good offices" with his ex-colleagues but to no avail. The TRS leaders are looking the other way, exactly like how "en ex" is treated, leaving the senior leader jilted and jolted.

Bandi Sanjay had made a feeble attempt to camouflage the failure of the party in attracting big leaders from the TRS saying that lower rung leaders would be admitted first and, in turn, they would mount pressure on the MLAs to switch sides to the BJP.

At the time of conclusion of the first leg of 'Praja sangrama Yatra' on Gandhi Jayanthi Day last year (October 2), Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani too joined the chorus of the Telangana BJP bandwagon and crooned their words that many leaders from the TRS might join the BJP. But, no leader who is in reckoning in the State turned toward the BJP. And, 'madam Irani' is disappointed, kyunki (because) there were no fresh appointments.

The Bandi Sanjay brigade didn't leave it at that. It continued to chant the same mantra that MLAs from the TRS would join the BJP - akin to the Orwellian sheep bleating 'four legs are good; two legs are bad'.

Second leg too ended sans joinings

The second leg of padayatra ended on May 14, 2022. Home Minister Amit Shah participated in the gala event, that just ended in a whimper for there was no semblance of the 'massive recruitment drive'.

The BJP's national executive and its public meeting addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the heart of Hyderabad's Parade Grounds on July 3 had only lightnings caused by atmospheric phenomenon, but not any 'metaphorical lightnings' in the form of big ticket entries into the party.

This left the BJP leadership, indeed, high and dry.

Lucrative offer

As if to make it clear to the people that it did not have any non-poaching agreement with the Telangana Congress, the BJP leadership lured Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy into its fold and made him resign from the Assembly. Home Minister Amit Shah came forth to "admit" the impudent Congress MLA in front of a large public meeting at Munugode, the constituency represented by Rajgopal Reddy. The MLA, who has been making overtures to leave the Congress, indeed sent feelers continuously and finally settled for a "decent deal" to join the BJP. His critics alleged that he had been given USD 3-billion mining leases to eschew tricolor and slip into saffron.

Therefore, the BJP seems to have been harping more on its trusted playbook of provoking religious tempers and talking about communal discord.

Amit Shah's meeting with Jr NTR a few days ago and BJP National President J P Nadda's meeting with actor Nitin and former women's cricket captain Mithali Raj on August 27 are being projected as the garnished icing on the "half-baked" cake of the BJP.

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