Hyderabad: A new version of the old joke has gained currency in Andhra Pradesh. The next BJP president will be appointed by YSRC president and Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy. The old version is that it was Chandrababu Naidu who either appointed or ratified the appointment of the BJP president when he was part of NDA.
But, Naidu’s control over BJP led to the emergence of anti-Naidu faction in the BJP. The tiny faction, arguing that the party had to raise the people’s issues if it were to strike roots in the state used to embarrass Naidu by demanding among other things setting up of the High Court in Rayalaseema.
A couple of leaders from the shouting brigade even went to the extent of praising the Opposition Leader, Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, giving an impression that the party would severe it ties with TDP in favour of YSRC.
However, Naidu, pulled strings and neutralised the group consisting of Daggubati Purandeswari, Kavuri Sambasivarao, Somu Virraju, Ankal Reddy etc. Later, Kanna Laskhminarayana also joined the group and amplified the anti-Naidu rhetoric in BJP.
The BJP is no longer in the company of TDP. The saffron party looks inching towards Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Now, Jagan’s attempt to scrap Amaravati as capital and shift the executive capital to Visakhapatnam created division within the party. While state unit president Kanna Lakshminarayana’s supporters have unleashed a virulent campaign against Jagan’s plan to shift the capital, another group, which argues that selecting the location of the capital is prerogative of the state government has extended silent support to Jagan.
After Jagan’s meetings with PM Modi and Home Minister Amith Shah, Kanna has intensified his campaign against the decision to scrap Amaravati as capital. The campaign reached a crescendo the other day when he addressed the women of Amaravati at Tullur on the 75th day of their “Save Amaravati” agitation.
“Jagan is shifting the capital from Amaravati to Vizag only to loot the port-city. When in opposition, Jagan extended support to the Amaravati construction. Now, as chief minister, he found Chandrababu Naidu did not leave behind anything to loot. Aghast, he decided to shift the capital to Vizag so that he could loot the city afresh,” Kanna told the gathering. He said Jagan was taking revenge on Andhra people for not giving him the power in 2014. Amaravati would remain capital and only capital of Andhra Pradesh, he added.
When the national party is silent, and the national spokesperson GVLN Rao said the capital building is prerogative of the state government, why has Kanna taken this extreme stand?
Grapevine has it that YSRC is promoting Somu Virraju, former MLC as the next president of the Andhra BJP. Virraju, a known admirer of Jagan, is said to be favouring an alliance between YSRC and BJP. Sources close to Kanna told siasat.com that Jagan lodged a complaint against Kanna on his Amaravati stand with Amit Shah. Jagan reportedly told Shah that by opposing the decentralization of the capital, Kanna was only strengthening the TDP in the state and he wanted no trouble for his government from BJP.
Kanna supporters allege that YSRC chief is batting for the appointment of Somu Virraju as the next AP BJP president.
Having smelt the imminent change the state leadership, Guntur-based Kanna is said to have declared all-out war against Jagan’s capital shifting plan.