After Karnataka, BJP eyes Andhra Pradesh for its next strike in the South

Assembly polls are due in Andhra Pradesh along with the Lok Sabha polls in 2019. PTI file photo

After Karnataka, the BJP is eyeing Andhra Pradesh for its next high voltage campaign to unseat the Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government.

Assembly polls are due in the state, along with the Lok Sabha polls in 2019.

BJP chief Amit Shah is understood to have finalised plans for the party's campaign in the state, which will be rolled out in the next fortnight or so, party officials said.

Drawing on what the party managers say are "favourable" outcome of their strategy in Karnataka, Shah and his strategists have worked out ways to "demolish" the TDP's campaign against the BJP-led Centre and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular.

Naidu broke away from the BJP in March, accusing the BJP-led central government on failing to deliver on its pledge to grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh.

He also accused the BJP of trying to hobnob with his arch-rival, YSR Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy.

'Babu-baiter'

As a first step to counter Naidu, Shah has handpicked a well-known "Babu-baiter" Kanna Lakshminarayana as president of its state unit.

His appointment, which took even the Andhra BJP leaders by surprise, comes two days after Shah's convoy was mobbed by TDP activists at Alipiri junction at Tirupati, where the BJP chief had gone to offer prayers after the Karnataka campaign.

The next day, Andhra Pradesh BJP leaders met state DGP M Malakondaiah in Vijayawada and demanded strict action against the TDP cadre who "attacked" Shah.

Even as state TDP leaders washed their hands off, the TDP city unit said its party workers expressed resentment to Shah over the “injustice” meted out by the Union government.

Two-way purpose

Besides being an influential Kapu community leader, 62-year-old Lakshminarayana's appointment as the state BJP chief is stated to have a two-way purpose, say BJP officials.

As Andhra BJP chief, he is expected to bring more ammunition to the party's campaign against Naidu and help boost the BJP cadre in a big way.

He will be instrumental in wooing the Kapu community, who are upset with the TDP for not doing enough for them, towards the BJP.

Traditionally, the TDP is seen as dominated by the Kamma community, to which the Andhra chief minister belongs. 

As a balancing act, Shah also made Andhra BJP leader Somu Veeraraju as the state convenor of an election management committee.

K Hari Babu had resigned as Andhra Pradesh BJP chief on April 17 to pave way for a revamp.

Shah has already asked Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary, to focus on Andhra Pradesh in addition to holding charge of Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

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After Karnataka, BJP eyes Andhra Pradesh for its next strike in the South

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