Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy’s opposition to the formation of Telangana is no secret. During his deliberations with the Congress high command in New Delhi on Tuesday, he had made it clear that he was not in favor of the formation of Telangana, and he is capable of handling the situation in the wake of pro-Telangana protests. Vicky Nanjappa reports.
While he presented many views on the matter, the main point of argument that he put out was the possible gain that the Bharatiya Janata Party could make if Telangana was formed.
The Congress, which is already facing the heat from the YSR Congress in Rayalseema and coastal Andhra, feels that it could capitalise on the Telangana issue. However according to Reddy, who submitted his report on the issue, they could lose to the BJP in case the state was formed.
Andhra Pradesh analysts say that there will be a huge polarisation of Hindu votes if Telangana is formed. As of today, no party wants to ally with the BJP in Telangana. But the party has proven that it is capable of winning seats in the region, thanks to the polarisation of Hindu votes.
Reddy told the high command that the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party has been making a pitch for the formation of a Raya-Telangana and wants Kurnool, Ananthpur and Kadapa to be included into Telangana. He said that the MIM feels that it could gain in there because of a heavy Muslim presence.
Analysts however believe that the BJP will gain in case any of the parties are trying to build a Muslim vote bank in Telangana. There has been a lot of emphasis on the Muslim vote bank in the 25 out of 119 constituencies in Telangana, and this has gradually begun to polarise the Hindu votes in the region.
Reddy also informed the high command that following the alleged hate speech given by MIM leader Akbar Owaisi, Hindus have united and would look to bring the BJP on top. He also said that in the Nizamabad and Mahboobnagar districts, the BJP had made gains after other parties had either spoken against the Hindus or fielded a Muslim candidate.
The 10 districts in Telangana were once controlled by the Nizam and each of them have a heavy Muslim presence. The MIM in particular, has been trying to capitalise on this issue. Other parties, such as the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi too have been playing the pro-Muslim card.
The Congress fears that this could help the BJP and the Hindus in the region could unite to keep parties which they feel are pro Muslim at bay.
The BJP on the other hand has been setting up bases and looking to polarise the Hindu votes in the region. It has its cadres in all parts of the region, and has a huge influence in most of the universities in the region, including the OsmaniaUniversity.
The other issue that the Andhra Pradesh Congress points out is that there is a growing disgruntlement against the TRS and the people of the region could vote for the BJP to keep the party at bay.
The AP Congress says that it was proven during the Mahboobnagar by-elections. Prior to this election, the BJP had requested the TRS not to field any candidate, but this request was not heeded to.
The TRS floated a Muslim candidate which led to the polarisation of Hindu votes, as a result of which, the BJP emerged victorious. It is also said that the BJP could also make gains in other sensitive areas such as Secundrabad because of the polarisation of the Hindu votes.