Congress-like infighting in Telangana shatters BJP’s unity myth

A Congress-like infighting is just beginning to rear its ugly head to shatter the myth that the saffron party is too invincible and sacrosanct to be caught in internal squabbles

Congress-like infighting in Telangana shatters BJP’s unity myth

HYDERABAD: The bubble is bursting for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Telangana. A Congress-like infighting is just beginning to rear its ugly head to shatter the myth that the saffron party is too invincible and sacrosanct to be caught in internal squabbles.

The unexpected rants by three of its leaders in the last two days, two of them questioning BJP Telangana unit chief Bandi Sanjay and another throwing his weight behind him, highlighted simmering discontent and a sharp division within the party. Ironically, more ignominious is the fact that this first major sign of an open revolt, if one can call it so, took off on Bandi Sanjay’s comments against BRS MLC Kavitha.

Dharmapuri Arvind, the BJP MP from Nizamabad, was the first to strike the discordant note two days ago. Shocking the entire BJP rank and file in Telangana, he delivered a statement that was seen as no less than an open reprimand to his own boss in the state. He condemned Bandi Sanjay’s comments against Kavitha claiming that outbursts like these would only cause more harm than good to the party.

But instead of confining to Kavitha issue, Arvind also made some cryptic remarks against Bandi Sanjay’s authority, stoking a fresh wave of debate within the BJP in Telangana. The Nizamabad MP said that the President’s position is not a power centre but only a coordination centre. His words left no room for second-guessing on how he intends to treat his state boss.

As if to prove Arvind was not isolated in nursing such feelings, Kannam Anjaiah, the BJP incharge of Dharmapuri Assembly constituency, stoked the anti-Sanjay fire further with even more inflammatory comments. Demanding that the Telangana BJP chief withdraw his comments against Kavitha, he alleged that no justice was being done in the party under the leadership of Bandi Sanjay. He raised the bogie of injustice and indiscrimination against Dalits. Anjaiah also accused Sanjay of favouring wealthy NRIs, capitalists and corporate honchos at the expense of those who had given their life for the party.

Bandi Sanjay however found a strong ally in party’s Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh, who questioned Dharmapuri Arvind’s discretion in openly criticising the BJP state chief. Stating that Bandi Sanjay was fully aware of his statements in public domain, he advised the Nizamabad MP to iron out his differences, if any, by talking to the state president.

The sudden wave of belligerence, that too a day after Union Home Minister and BJP strongman Amit Shah gave a direction to the party leaders on the way forward during his recent Hyderabad visit, has left both the party cadre and the media circles bewildered. So far, the BJP has been boasting of being a party that diligently follows an invisible Lakshman Rekha, unlike the Congress, when it comes to internal unity and discipline. The unpleasant turn of events in the last two days however shattered this myth amid speculation that the infighting would only intensify further before the fast-approaching elections.

It is widely perceived that there are at least three or four groups within the Telangana BJP that are itching to establish themselves as the biggest powercentre before the state goes to polls. Besides Bandi Sanjay, party senior leaders G Kishan Reddy and Muralidhar Rao, along with Etala Rajender, its recent migrant from the BRS, are believed to be trying hard to hold sway over the party on a host of issues including the selection of suitable candidates for the next Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

One half of Dharmapuri Arvind’s open attack on Bandi Sanjay is being attributed to this likelihood. The two are also known to be at loggerheads on several local issues where their personal egos are widening the gap between them. The two reportedly had differences on the issue of bringing Balkonda local strongman Sunil Reddy into the BJP fold. While Sanjay was enthusiastic about the idea, it was only reportedly met with stiff resistance from Arvind.

Similarly, the Nizamabad MP is learnt to be exerting pressure for quite some time on the party leadership to replace the district chief. To assert his supremacy in the district, Arvind reportedly wants a leader who is ‘very amicable’ to him in the saddle of the district president. Also, the Nizamabad MP, the first-time Parliamentarian, is feeling insecure with the prominence being given to senior leader and former MLA Yendala Lakshminarayana in the district.

Whatever the factors, the voices of dissidence, aimed at challenging the authority of Bandi Sanjay, are being viewed as ominous signs for the BJP in Telangana, especially at a time it harbours dreams of unsettling the well-entrenched BRS and come to power in the state

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