Fresh from the victory in the recent by-elections to the Dubbak assembly seat in Siddipet district, the Bharatiya Janata Party in Telangana has started attracting potential leaders from other parties ahead of the prestigious elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).
On Saturday, senior Congress leader and former Union minister of state for transport Sarvey Satyanarayana announced that he was quitting the party to join the BJP. “The Congress has collapsed totally in Telangana and has no future. The people have realized that BJP is the only alternative to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti,” Satyanarayana told reporters.
Considered to be a hardcore loyalist of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Satyanarayana had been sulking ever since he was denied a party ticket to contest the 2019 parliamentary elections from Malkajgiri which he had represented in the past.
On Friday, BJP state president Bandi Sanjay and former MP G Vivek went to Satyanarayana’s residence in Secunderabad and convinced him to join the BJP. “I have no complaints against Sonia ji. I am joining the BJP with her blessings. The Telangana PCC leaders are responsible for the debacle of the party in all the elections, including the recent Dubbak by-polls,” the ex-Union minister said.
The BJP leaders also held talks with Youth Congress leader M Vikram Goud, son of former Congress minister late Mukesh Goud, and invited him into the party. Goud had been unhappy with the PCC leadership for denying party tickets to his followers in the ongoing GHMC elections. “He is expected to join the BJP in a day or two,” a state BJP leader familiar with the development said.
Another senior Congress leader and former Hyderabad Mayor Banda Karthika Reddy along with her husband Chandra Reddy also joined the BJP three days ago. So did former MLA from Serilingampalli P Bhikshapathi Yadav and his son Ravi Kumar Yadav, a Youth Congress leader, earlier in the week.
The BJP also made an attempt to attract prominent industrialist and former MP from Chevella constituency Konda Vishweshwar Reddy. BJP national general secretary Bhupendra Yadav, who was appointed as the party in-charge for GHMC polls, went to Reddy’s residence and held parleys.
However, the former MP issued a statement stating that he would continue in the Congress party and the meeting with Bhupendra Yadav had no political significance.
Another former MP and actor M Vijayashanti, who had been the star campaigner of the Congress in the last elections, is also likely to join the BJP soon. She has been keeping away from the Congress party activities for quite some time.
PCC working president and former MP Ponnam Prabhakar lashed out at the BJP for “shamelessly luring the Congress leaders,” as it had no strength of its own. He said leaders like Banda Karthika Reddy and Sarvey Satyanarayana had been suspended from the party long ago for their anti-party activities.
“The BJP leaders are trying to attract voters by polarizing Hindu votes, showing the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen as a villain,” Prabhakar alleged.
Meanwhile, the BJP leaders are also looking to trap disgruntled TRS leaders as well to gain advantage in the GHMC elections. On Saturday, Union minister of state for home G Kishan Reddy, along with other leaders, met senior TRS leader and former chairman of state legislative council T Swamy Goud and invited him into the party.