Ram Madhav drafted to shore up BJP prospects in Telangana

Hyderabad: The BJP has drafted senior leaders Ram Madhav, Narendra Singh Tomar and Mangal Pandey to shore up the prospects of the party as it set its eyes to take on the ruling TRS in the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. They have been made in-charge of the party in five Lok Sabha constituencies each, and the Assembly segments that come under them, Telangana BJP President K Laxman said during a media interaction here Wednesday.

Union Minister of State for Labour and Employment Bandaru Dattatreya, the lone BJP MP from Telangana, has been made in-charge in two Parliament seats, he said. Telangana has a total of 17 Lok Sabha and 119 Assembly segments, and elections are due in 2019.

Ram Madhav is a party General Secretary, Tomar is Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, while Pandey is former Bihar BJP president and currently Health Minister in the Nitish Kumar government. Laxman said the BJP state unit is taking inspiration from the party’s impressive performance in the last Assembly elections in States such as Uttar Pradesh and Assam to come to power in Telangana.

He also announced that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would address a public meeting in Nizamabad on September 17 to be organised by the BJP state unit to celebrate ‘Telangana Liberation Day’ (or Hyderabad Samsthan Liberation Day). Laxman, in fact, would be kicking off a week-long ‘Telangana Vimochana Yatra’ from Friday primarily to mount pressure on the TRS government to officially celebrate September 17 as “Hyderabad Samsthan Liberation Day”.
He said during the agitation for separate Telangana state, which picked up momentum after 2004, the TRS had also demanded observation of official celebration on September 17. In fact, during the run-up to the elections in 2009 and 2014, the TRS head and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao stated several times that the non-observation of official celebration on September 17 had been the “conspiracy of the combined state (undivided Andhra Pradesh)”, he said.

Chandrasekhar Rao had also said that when the TRS comes to power, it would officially celebrate September 17 as ‘Telangana Liberation Day’, he said. “But, after coming to power in 2014, obviously buckling under pressure of the MIM, who are actually the descendants of Razakars, who committed heinous crimes on the people of Telangana during the liberation struggle between 1945 and 1948, the TRS government took a ‘U-turn’ and put the issue on backburner,” Laxman alleged.

Razakars had fought against Hyderabad integrating into India and wanted the Nizam rule to continue. “It is obvious that the TRS government has shelved the issue, intimidated by the MIM and of course for vote-back politics,” Laxman claimed.

The BJP believes celebration of September 17–the party has been demanding it since 1998–is an issue close to the hearts and minds of the people, inextricably linked to the self-respect of the people and a “historical imperative”. As part of the yatra, Laxman would visit “all those historical places which were witness to the brutality of Razakars and valour of the martyrs”.

“The objective of the tour is three-fold: to expose the chicanery of the TRS government; to press the demand of official celebration of Telangana Liberation Day on September 17 and to revive the memory of Hyderabad liberation struggle and pay tribute to the martyrs,” he added.