If there was one name that was synonymous with BJP in the south, then it was Venkaiah Naidu till recently. Especially, in Andhra, he was the sole tree in the otherwise sparsely full party. But all that has changed now and that too without any special efforts from Venkaiah Naidu. The centre has given him a ministry and got him busy to look after his portfolio. Once in a while, he has been flying into Vizag. Barring that, he hasn’t had much to do as far as the party affairs are concerned.
Though he managed to pull in Purandareswari long ago, Venkaiah could not get her a job. And now, the party high command has started to overlook the party affairs by sidelining him. While Muralidhar Rao is handling the matters in Telangana BJP, the Andhra affairs are being looked after by Ram Madhav. After being a minister for 14 years and aspiring for the CM’s post, Kanna Lakshminarayana jumped into BJP. But Venkaiah who has been pivotal to the party’s existence in united Andhra Pradesh has been sidetracked rather smoothly. In fact, Kanna has well-known and long-existing rivalry with Rayapati Sambasiva Rao.
So, Venkaiah wouldn’t have worked against Rayapati. The only way Kanna could have made his way into the party is through Ram Madhav. Incidentally, others who got into BJP also made their entry through Ram Madhav and Venkaiah has been nowhere in the picture. Talk is that not just Kanna, but many more Kapu Congress leaders are trying to get into the party through Ram Madhav and via Amit Shah. Well, this might happen now or it may take another two to three years. But BJP is the destination for many erstwhile Congress members, it is being said.
Apparently, Venkaiah is not very happy with the changing scenario according to talk in political circles. It is being said that Venkaiah’s plan was to rope in people like Khambhampati Haribabu, Purandareswari, Kavuri and other Kamma leaders into BJP and transform the party into yet another Kamma party in Andhra. In fact, when BJP was in power at the Centre in the past, efforts were made in this direction. But that did not work out at the time.
Now, Modi is going strong and BJP has managed a strong foothold. So, once again, he has started making efforts in this direction. If the plan worked the way he planned, then both the major parties would be in the hands of Kamma community and they would have continued in power for many, many years to come. Meanwhile, BJP has retained the support of Pawan Kalyan and has started attracting leaders of the Kapu community into the party. It is being said that many Kapu leaders are now in talks with the national leaders in BJP. If this strategy works, then Venkaiah’s plans will go kaput.