'Big mush' Bapiraju bumps into Koppula Eshwar, what's brewing

After exchanging pleasantries, both Kanumuri Bapiraju and Koppula Eshwar shifted their gaze on to the current trend of politics

Kanumuri Bapiraju and Koppula Eshwar

Kanumuri Bapiraju and Koppula Eshwar

TIRUMALA: Tirumala, the heavenly abode of Lord Sri Venkateswara, attracts millions of devotees from across the globe including high-profile politicians of the present and the past. It is a common sight here to see such VIPs often crossing the paths and going nostalgic on meeting old friends.

One such event was witnessed in Tirumala on Sunday when Kanumuri Bapiraju, former minister in the erstwhile unified Andhra Pradesh, bumped into Koppula Eshwar, a Minister in KCR's Telangana cabinet. Even as the two old friends appeared delighted to meet after a long time, the range of issues that came up for discussion during their chit-chat caught the media's eye.

After exchanging pleasantries, both Kanumuri Bapiraju and Koppula Eshwar shifted their gaze on to the current trend of politics in the country, especially in the two Telugu states. This assumed a lot more significance particularly in the wake of KCR's national political ambitions and his recent announcement of transforming TRS into Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). Bapiraju was all too keen to know about KCR's roadmap for the expansion of BRS and the likely modalities of the new national party.

Bapiraju was all ears too when Eshwar fully seized the opportunity to reel out the details on their party's plans. The chance-meet and the nature of discussion also generated enough buzz and gave wings to a fresh round of speculation. Since the time KCR's announced the launch of BRS, there have been reports of a discreet but very aggressive groundwork in Andhra Pradesh to entice leaders, worth their significance from across parties, to its fold. This has set the rumour mills working at a faster pace to suggest that KCR was keen to field his own candidates in Andhra Pradesh on behalf of the BRS.

The speculation, still very much in the realm of conjecture, claims that the BRS would be primarily targeting politicians of the Congress, the TDP and the BJP. With the aim of fishing out former and current leaders with significant clout in their own constituencies, the BRS leaders are rumoured to have been asked to leverage their individual contacts and old friendships in Andhra Pradesh and scout for the right candidates to contest for the BRS.

Given this backdrop, the curious discussions that took place between Kanumuri Bapiraju and Koppula Eshwar in Tirumala on Sunday also made the mediapersons think if there was something very serious that was in the works.

Bapiraju, now 75, is virtually living in a state of renunciation, keeping himself away from both active and electoral politics. To assume that he could be a contender once again in his twilight might seem a bit far-fetched for now. But the fact that he was a staunch Congressman, a five-time MLA and a two-time MP from Narsapuram can make him a good prospect for the BRS if the reports on its AP plans turn out to be true.

An industrialist and former chairman of the TTD, Bapiraju is famous for his trademark big mustache. He is also equally known for his affable personality with the reputation of having countless friends among politicians in both the Telugu states. Political relevance and considerations are multi-dimensional which keep changing with the changing times. Is Kanumuri Bapiraju really on KCR's radar and is he heading for a second innings in electoral politics, that too under the banner of BRS, is something the time will determine. But he has provided enough fuel for the speculation to flare up to this effect with his chance-meet with Koppula Eshwar in Tirumala on Sunday.

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