BJP and Eatala Rajender: Who benefitted whom in Huzurabad?

Hyderabad: The stupendous victory for former Telangana health minister Eatala Rajender in the by-election to Huzurabad assembly seat has given the much-needed boost to Bharatiya Janata Party, which is desperate to emerge as a strong alternative to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi by next assembly elections.

Technically, it was a victory for the saffron party, whose tally in the 119-member state assembly has gone up to three, the other two being T Raja Singh from Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad and M Raghunandan Rao from Dubbak constituency in Medak district.

But the fact is that the BJP is only basking in the glory of Rajender, who waged a brave battle with TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao, who pulled out all stops to conquer Huzurabad and finish Rajender politically.

MS Education Academy

That Rajender could secure a majority of nearly 24,000 votes over TRS candidate Gellu Srinivas Yadav was no easy task. He had to fight against the money and muscle powers of the TRS, whose campaign was spearheaded by KCR’s nephew and finance minister T Harish Rao, known as the trouble shooter for his uncle.

The BJP was of little help to Rajender, as it hardly has any cadre in Huzurabad constituency, which was dominated by Naxalites and other Left-wing extremist groups. Rajender himself hails from the Leftist background and has a strong cadre base in the constituency.

In December 2018 assembly elections, the BJP polled only 1,683 votes accounting for 0.95 per cent of the total votes in Huzurabad, which is less than the number of votes (2867) polled under None Of The Above (NOTA) options. Since then, the saffron party has not made any significant improvements in its strength so much so to defeat the TRS in its own bastion.

Therefore, it is pretty evident that the BJP’s victory in Huzurabad in the present by-election is entirely due to the personal image of Rajender, who has been nurturing the constituency over the last 16 years and has done a lot of good work in several villages.

But, then, why did Rajender prefer to join the BJP which has no strength in Huzurabad? The answer is obvious: he needed a safe shelter after he was facing a witch-hunt from the KCR government on the charges of land grabbing. “Had he joined the Congress or remained independent, he would have been behind the bars by now. The BJP helped him by extending him much needed support at that time,” a close associate of Rajender said.

But Rajender was careful in his association with the BJP and took enough care that he would not carry the saffron tag, so that he would not get isolated from the minority voters in Huzurabad. While all the BJP leaders who campaigned for him including Bandi Sanjay, G Kishan Reddy and D Arvind raised Jai Narendra Modi and Jai Bharat Mata slogans, Rajender was ending his speeches with Jai Telangana slogan.

At one stage, the BJP leaders complained that Rajender was fighting for himself rather than for the party. But he did not confront with them and continued to play the self-respect card during his campaign.

The anti-people policies of the BJP government at the Centre like privatisation of government assets like railways, ports and airports, sharp increase in the prices of petrol, diesel and LPG cylinders turned out to be negative factors for Rajender. The TRS tried hard to raise these issues to nail the BJP.

But Rajender managed to overcome this negative campaign by launching a counter-attack on the TRS government on issues like growing unemployment, farmers’ suicides etc. That way, he saved the blues for the BJP.

The election symbol of the BJP – Lotus – was also a sort of negative factor for Rajender, who had till then been identified only with “car” symbol of TRS. Since Lotus was not very favourite of the people of Huzurabad, Rajender had to struggle a lot to enlighten them about the changed symbol.

Braving all these odds, Rajender won the by-election with a handsome margin, mostly because of his personal image and partly because of the anti-establishment wave. It was certainly not a positive vote for the BJP.

Subscribe us on The Siasat Daily - Google News
Back to top button