Hyderabad: It has been a few weeks since former health minister and estranged Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLA Eatala Rajender was shunted out of chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s (KCR) cabinet. While speculation is rife about Eatala’s next move, sources told Siasat.com that he is inclined towards joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, BJP leaders from Telangana categorically said that they are in no hurry to rope him in.
On Thursday, Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) president Prof. M. Kodandaram and former TRS member of Parliament Konda Vishweshwar Reddy met Eatala Rajender to extend support. “We extended support to Eatala. No politics was discussed at this time. If there were issues, it should have been sorted out,” Prof. Kodandaram told Siasat.com. However, it is learnt that Rajender is considering joining the BJP, primarily as he is worried that the state government is after him (since there is an investigation against him over allegations of land grabbing).
As of now, Eatala Rajender has not announced any decision about his future. However, he has been meeting political leaders from the BJP, Congress and also others who are planning to float a new regional outfit. However, when contacted, senior BJP leaders clearly said that they are in no hurry to pursue Eatala Rajender, given that he does not bring in a lot of organisational strength with him.
“He is just going around talking to people. If someone had strength, he would have resigned. He doesn’t stand a chance to win the Huzurabad seat in a by-poll. All that he had was the party behind him. Even during the separate statehood movement for Telangana, Eatala was not a big name. Nayini Narasimha Reddy, Prof Jaishanker, KCR etc were the faces of the movement. He is just an ex-follower of KCR,” opined a BJP leader, who did not want to be quoted.
BJP’s chief spokesperson for Telangana, Krishna Saagar Rao, said, “I can take this categorically that none of the our leaders have reached out to Eatala Rajender. Being a colleague in the assembly, it is natural for our leaders to speak to him. If he chooses to join BJP unconditionally, within its framework then ideology, then that is alright. As a political party, we will not be in a position to say not to anyone,” he added.
Rajender’s exit from the cabinet also came at a time when he was handling the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as the former state health minister. Things were also not rosy between him and KCR from quite some time, as Eatala had also in the past raised questions over the TRS’s ownership, which was founded by KCR to spearhead the separate Telangana statehood movement in the early 2000s.
As of now, Eatala Rajender has not yet resigned from the state Assembly, and is still technically with the ruling TRS in Telangana. It is to be seen if he formally announces a decision soon. “Is working under KCR better or is better with Bandi Sanjay (BJP Telangana president)? Eatala wants protection from the central government, that is why he will go to the BJP. Even in the BJP he will have to work under other people there,” said a TRS leader, who also did not want to be quoted.
Sources also informed Siasat.com that Prof. Kodandaram reportedly adviced Eatala Rajender to not be rash, and join the BJP, if that is what he was considering. “He was told that it is a wrong judgement, and that he could join any party, but that this is not the time for it. He is in the TRS, and the quarrel with him is still ongoing. As it is, people sympathise with him, so he can consolidate his position,” the source added.
Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said that Eatala is over estimating his influence in Telangana however. “If he goes to Congress and BJP, he will become another leader. Now, if he really needs to do something big, he needs to start his own party and keep himself as the centre of the issue. There is already a huge talk of another regional party,” he opined.