BJP moves key Rajasthan organisation leader to Telangana with eye on Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: The BJP on Monday appointed Chandrashekhar, a key organisation leader in the party’s Rajasthan unit, as the general secretary (organisation) in Telangana, where the saffron party is looking to make gains in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The appointment was announced by the BJP in a statement here.

Chandrashekhar, whose organisational skills have drawn praise from several senior party leaders, had recently met BJP president J P Nadda and sought a new assignment after the party’s return to power in Rajasthan in the recent assembly polls. He is from the RSS.

Telangana has a total of 17 Lok Sabha seats and the BJP won four in 2019, with the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (formerly Telangana Rashtra Samithi) winning nine seats, Congress three, and the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) one.

“The BJP has already swung in to form booth committees, begun cluster-wise campaigns by the karyakartas, and adopted a distributed-leadership approach,” a BJP state leader aware of the developments said. He added the party’s twin objectives include augmenting its voter base in northern Telangana districts and deploying a greater workforce in 19 other seats where the BJP was a second contender to the Congress in the recently concluded assembly elections.

The BJP’s vote share more than doubled from 6.10% in 2018 to 14.02% in the assembly elections held in November while a sizeable Muslim vote helped the Congress secure 39.40% vote share, up by more than 10% from the previous state election. The severe anti-incumbency factor worked against the ruling BRS that led to its vote share shrinking to 37.35%, falling by nearly 10% since the party gained a comfortable majority in 2018.

Barring the Goshamahal seat in Hyderabad city, much of the BJP’s victories were scored in the northern Telangana districts of Adilabad, Nizamabad, Nirmal, Asifabad, and Kamareddy in the November assembly elections. “We are working towards strengthening the organisation in constituencies where our party is weak for want of cadre and an existing voter base to build on,” said P Muralidhar Rao, former national general secretary of the party and current Madhya Pradesh state in-charge.

A pronounced and sharp campaign is on the cards to drive a perception shift to being the chief opponent in the state to both the Congress and the BRS. “We want to ensure the perception of ‘Gulabi Banka’ (slime) sticking to us is wiped off,” a senior BJP leader, who is in the race to contest the parliamentary elections said.