Why Jagan Sharmila’s sister’s new party is exactly what BJP needs to gain traction in Telangana
Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s sister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s new party YS Sharmila in neighboring Telangana is likely to reduce support for the ruling TRS and second-place Congress – creating a gap that the BJP could easily fill.
Congress continues to hobble in Telangana with 12 of its 19 deputies, elected in 2018, now in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) camp.
Analysts believed Sharmila’s entry could further darken the national party by removing the traditional Reddy electoral base – a community devoted to his late father YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
The BJP’s likely gains will not stop with the divided vote in Congress. Recent results from a civic poll showed that the Saffron Party has paid off anti-nomination votes against the TRS and is ready to further consolidate that base.
The assembly elections in Telangana are not that far away – in 2023.
Meanwhile, preparations are almost complete for the launch of YS Sharmila’s YSR Telangana (YSRTP) party on July 8 – the anniversary of her father YSR’s birth.
YSRTP was registered with the Election Commission in the name of Sharmila’s close aide, Vaduga RajaGopal, who told ThePrint that the party had been registered according to his instructions.
This will be Sharmila’s first foray into electoral politics. She has never contested an election and has always been behind the desk to help her brother Jagan.
But next November, Sharmila will organize a massive march in Telangana to make contact with voters in the state. A walkethon or padayatra is the family’s signature campaign style, and he has helped his father and brother immensely in the election.
It won’t be Sharmila’s first padayatra, Is. When his brother Jagan Mohan Reddy was in prison in 2013 for corruption, Sharmila had traveled 3,000 kilometers to garner support from the young YSRCP.
Does Sharmila have Jagan’s blessing?
Sadly, the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh has distanced himself from his YSRCP party from his sister’s debut in neighboring Telangana.
Party leaders clarified that there may not have been a “personal divide” between the siblings, but there were certainly ideological differences.
On the one hand, Jagan did not wish to be in opposition to Telangana, led by his former close friend K. Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR).
YSRTP insiders revealed that Jagan told Sharmila that it was important to maintain cordial relations between the two Telugu states. He wanted to focus only on Andhra for now.
The two chief ministers have bonded in the past through several phone calls, lunches and social gatherings to discuss issues related to the fork in former Andhra Pradesh.
Bonhomie may have deteriorated somewhat due to the water dispute between Godavari and Krishna, but the political message was clear to the sister: stay away from Telangana.
Read also : Jagan-KCR’s bonhomie is history as friendship deteriorates over water dispute and interstate buses
How does the BJP win?
The BJP had everything to gain in Telangana if Congress was further weakened, senior political expert Bandaru Srinivas Rao said.
“It is obvious that Congress and the BJP are fighting to be number two. BJP has an advantage in this equation. The party’s plans were always long term. The BJP may say it wants to dethrone the KCR in the next election, but it doesn’t. If that was the case, the saffron party would have started its grassroots work 10 years ago, “said Rao, adding,” If anyone is to win from Sharmila’s entrance, it will be the BJP. “
BJP’s chances have been bolstered by their recent victories over KCR turf. He was aggressively leveraging this to topple Congress as a key opposition, analysts said.
The BJP won Dubbaka’s ballot last November, pushing Congress to third place. In Hyderabad’s hotly contested municipal elections – which saw star party activists Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath – the party won 10 times its tally in 2018. The BJP won 48 of 150 constituencies last December, while Congress managed to keep its two skinny ones.
While the BJP is not yet a serious competitor to the TRS, its goal is definitely to sideline Congress and become a key opposition, a party insider has revealed.
Continued defections from the congressional camp and internal feuds have made the BJP’s job easier. Congress has already lost 12 MPs to the TRS, they wouldn’t want another parade for Sharmila’s party, he said.
Read also : BJP wins big in Hyderabad polls, multiplying tally by 10 as TRS misses halfway point
Who is targeting Sharmila?
One analyst said Sharmila’s target vote bank was the Reddy community – a significant portion of which was loyal to her father and the late CM YS Congress Rajasekhara Reddy. “Congress has always been seen as a Reddy party,” he said.
Sharmila will also focus on Muslims, Christians and Scheduled Castes – also Congress supporters in Telangana.
The Christian community favors her, analysts say, because her husband, Brother Anil, is a well-known evangelist. His family, including his late father and brother Jagan Mohan, practice Christianity.
A close associate of Sharmila told ThePrint: “It is obvious that Christians will support us. We rely on the Muslim vote because YSR has served this community well. Add to that the hundreds of thousands of unemployed young people who are angry with KCR because of their unemployment. “
YSRTP leader Pitta Ramreddy said the party will also focus on weaker sections of Telangana that have been ignored by the KCR. “The goal of a separate state was to uplift backward communities,” he said.
Political analyst Palwai Raghvendra Reddy said Sharmila’s new venture would certainly be a spoiler for one equation or another. “It will hurt Congress more than the TRS or BJP if it gets the votes of Christians and listed castes,” he said. He added that the Reddy vote bank could represent around 8-9% in the state.
YS Rajasekhara Reddy was popular for many welfare schemes in undivided Andhra – modified versions of which are still implemented in both states.
For example, he introduced full reimbursement of fees for students belonging to backward classes, listed castes, listed tribes, minorities as well as economically backward classes.
YSR’s idea was to dial 108 for an ambulance. Its popularity also skyrocketed with the state government’s “Arogyasri” program, which allowed poor people to seek treatment in private hospitals.
What are Sharmila’s challenges?
“There really is no vacuum in Telangana politics at the moment. It doesn’t look like the TRS is weakening under KCR, although it certainly isn’t getting stronger, ”Bandaru Srinivas Rao told ThePrint.
He added, “A lot of people benefited from YSR’s programs, a lot of people felt emotionally grieved when he died suddenly in a helicopter crash. But will voters remember the past and decide to be thankful when the polls arrive? I do not think so.
Since stepping out of her brother’s shadow earlier this year, Sharmila has been clear on her party’s agenda – rekindling YSR’s support for Telangana, seeing her as Rajanna rajyam or the rule of YSR.
Sharmila also has the story problem. His father YSR strictly opposed the movement for a separate Telangana state. “If she now tries to present herself as a messiah of the Telangana people, tries to impose her father’s shadow on Telangana sentiment, it may not help her gain anything,” said a political observer.
Palwai Raghvendra Reddy endorsed this view, adding: “Although Sharmila will highlight KCR’s anti-ownership, she might actually help the ruling party by dividing the anti-TRS votes.”
“The Reddys traditionally support Congress in Telangana. Few people can change their loyalty to Sharmila. Again, she can get the votes of those who have benefited from YSR’s programs. But that will only divide the anti-KCR vote. KCR is smart and knows how to deal with dissent inside and outside the party ranks, ”Palwai said.
At least two congressional leaders have already left ship for Sharmila’s party and they said several others – including sitting MPs from the ruling party – were in contact.
Read also : Andhra CM Jagan’s sister Sharmila hints at Telangana’s political entry – without her brother
Mob shooter, campaigner for Jagan, but still behind the scenes
As a politician, Sharmila has a great connection with the masses. She is also known for her catchy slogans.
During her padayatra in 2012 and 2013 she repeated the line ‘Nenu Jagananna odhilina Baananni‘, which meant she was an arrow thrown by YS Jagan Mohan. This line, which became an instant hit, was used at various public gatherings during these months.
In the 2019 election, she campaigned with the slogan, ‘Goodbye Babu’ and ‘Goodbye Pappu’. The first targeted former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and the second his son N. Lokesh.
Seen as a “carbon copy” of her father, Sharmila has been praised in the past for standing firm in her brother’s absence. She actively campaigned for Jagan Mohan in the 2019 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections.
But she did not run for office or hold a crucial position in the party. Sharmila slipped into the shadows after the results and did not come out until February to hold a meeting at her property in Hyderabad. It’s right next to his brother’s YSRCP office.
A person in the know also shared that Sharmila did not attend the annual Christmas family reunion last year.
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