Just as the Congress party is looking for a leader for its Delhi unit, a similar hunt is on in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for a head for its Telangana unit. The BJP is keen on capturing political power in Telangana before the next elections and sees a big opportunity with the shrinking base of Congress and the beginning of anti-incumbency sentiment that is spreading against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The BJP won four Lok Sabha seats this May and an increase in the percentage of votes polled from 7 per cent to 19 per cent in five months. Secunderabad MP G Kishan Reddy has been made a minister of state for Home with the party’s growth in mind.
The present state unit president, Dr K Laxman, 63, is a senior OBC leader in the party and is respected by the cadre. But he himself lost from the Musheerabad Assembly seat in the December elections. He was also unable to get leaders from other parties to join the BJP.
In the circumstances, Muralidhar Rao who began life as an ABVP leader in Osmania University in the 1980s and later the Swadeshi Jagran Manch is being considered for elevation. Rao is a Velama (like Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao), and tried several times to contest for Parliament from Telangana but he could not be accommodated, largely because Ch Vidyasagar Rao (also a Velama) blocked those efforts. But Rao has since been despatched as Maharashtra governor.
Newly elected Nizamabad MP Arvind Dharmapuri has demanded publicly that Muralidhar Rao be made party president. Watch this space.