Hoping for consolidation, Bharatiya Janata Party fields seven defectors in Telangana

Hyderabad, April 8 (IANS) Seven of the candidates of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Telangana for next month’s Lok Sabha elections are defectors from other parties.

They all secured BJP tickets for the May 13 polls soon after switching loyalties to the BJP, which has set the goal of winning more than 10 out of 17 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

A sitting MP, the son of another sitting MP, and two former MPs are among those fielded by the BJP after they defected from the main opposition party Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).

Political analysts say the lack of strong candidates within its camps made the Bharatiya Janata Party

lure leaders from rival parties. The party fielded turncoats in four reserved constituencies.

In most of the seven constituencies, the

Bharatiya Janata Party had finished third in the 2019 election. The party leaders are hoping that the joining of key leaders from BRS will bolster its prospects.

Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy, who is also the state BJP president, claims that the leaders from other parties joined the BJP as they were impressed by the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“This reflects the current wave in favor of the BJP across the country. The party is also getting people’s support across Telangana,” he said.

For Adilabad, which is one of the four seats won by the BJP in 2019, the BJP fielded Godam Nagesh, a former MP from BRS, soon after he joined the BJP.

Interestingly, Nagesh had lost to BJP’s Soyam Bapu Rao in 2019 in the same constituency, which is reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The BJP dropped the sitting MP due to controversy triggered by his publicly admitting that he used part of the constituency development fund for personal use.

Nagesh was earlier elected to Lok Sabha from Adilabad on TRS (now BRS) ticket in 2014. He was fielded days after he joined the TRS.

The leader of the Gond tribe was earlier with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Son of former minister G. Ramarao, Nagesh was first elected to the Assembly of Undivided Andhra Pradesh from Boath in 1994 and served as Minister of State for Scheduled Tribes Welfare and Welfare of the Handicapped in the Cabinet of N. Chandrababu Naidu. He retained the seat in 1999.

For the Zahirabad Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP has fielded sitting MP B. B. Patil, who was elected as BRS candidate from the same seat in 2019 and recently crossed over to the BJP camp. Patil had won the seat by a narrow margin of 6,229 votes against his nearest rival Madan Mohan Rao of the Congress party. The BJP candidate B. Laxman Reddy was a distant third.

This was the second term for Patil, who was first elected from Zahirabad in 2014 with a huge majority of over 1.44 lakh votes against Suresh Kumar Shetkar of Congress.

Similarly, in Nagarkurnool the BJP fielded Pothuganti Bharat, son of sitting MP Pothuganti Ramulu of BRS. The father-son duo quit BRS to join the BJP on February 29. Ramulu switched loyalties after an assurance from the BJP leadership that his son would be given the ticket.

In 2019, Ramulu defeated Mallu Ravi of Congress by over 1.89 lakh votes in this constituency, reserved for Scheduled Castes. The BJP was a distant third. This time, the Congress has once again fielded Mallu Ravi, brother of Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka. The BRS has given a ticket to former IPS officer R. S. Praveen Kumar, who quit the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to join BRS last month.

In Mahabubabad, reserved for Scheduled Tribes, the BJP fielded Azmeera Seetaram Naik soon after he quit BRS and joined the BJP. Seetaram Naik, who was elected from here in 2014 on a BRS ticket, was aspiring for the party ticket once again but the BRS leadership decided to field sitting MP Kavitha Maloth.

In 2019, Kavitha Maloth had defeated Balram Naik of Congress by 1.46 lakh votes. The BJP hardly had any presence with its candidate polling only 2.59 percent votes.

BJP leaders hope that with a strong local leader joining its ranks, the party will give a tough fight to both Congress and BRS.

For Nalgonda, the BJP has fielded former MLA S. Saidi Reddy after he defected to the party from BRS. He was elected to the Assembly on a BRS ticket from Huzurnagar in the by-election in 2019 but suffered defeat in the recent polls.

Considered a stronghold of Congress, Nalgonda has been with the grand old party for the last three terms. In 2019, senior Congress leader N. Uttam Kumar Reddy was elected, defeating his nearest rival V. Narasimha Reddy of BRS by over 25,000 votes. The Bhartiya Janta Party candidate was a distant third.

Huzurnagar is one of the seven Assembly segments under Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat. In the recent Assembly elections, Uttam Kumar Reddy defeated his nearest rival Saidi Reddy of BRS by over 44,000 votes.

The BJP is also hoping to improve its performance in the Peddapalli Lok Sabha constituency, where it has fielded Gomasa Srinivas, a defector from Congress. The seat was won by BRS in 2019 with the Congress candidate finishing runner-up. The BJP was a distant third.

In Warangal, a seat reserved for Scheduled Castes, the BJP has fielded Aroori Ramesh, a former BRS MLA, who recently joined the BJP. The Bhartiya Janta Party, which has been holding the third position since 2014, is hoping to consolidate its position.

This key constituency has been in the news for the last few days due to defections. Sitting MP Pasunoori Dayakar of BRS had defected to Congress in the hope of getting a ticket but the ruling party fielded Kadiyam Kavya after she opted out of contest days after being named as BRS candidate. Kavya along with her father and BRS MLA Kadiyam Srihari joined the Congress party last week.

Interestingly Aroori Ramesh had quit BRS after the party ignored his claim for the ticket and fielded Kavya.

Ramesh is a two-time MLA from the Wardhannapet (SC) constituency, one of the Assembly segments under the Warangal parliamentary seat. He failed to retain the seat in the Assembly elections held in November 2023.

Warangal has been a stronghold of BRS since 2004. In 2019, Dayakar defeated his nearest rival Dommati Sambaiah of Congress by a huge majority of over 3.50 lakh votes. The BJP was in third position by securing 7.89 percent of votes.

Dayakar had won the seat for the first time in 2015 by-election. His margin of victory against Sarve Sathyanarayana of Congress was over 4.59 lakh. The by-election was caused by the resignation of Kadiyam Srihari after he was inducted into the Cabinet by then-chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao. Srihari too had registered his victory with a massive majority of 3.92 lakh votes in 2014.

The Bhartiya Janta Party had bagged four Lok Sabha seats in 2019, registering its best-ever performance in the state. Riding on the Modi wave, it had polled 19.45 percent votes. This was a huge jump from one Assembly seat and 6.98 percent votes in the 2018 Assembly elections.

In the recent Assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party increased its tally to eight. It almost doubled the vote share to 13.90 percent. However, its vote share dropped when compared to the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.



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