Visakhapatnam: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Andhra Pradesh is in a crisis with a section of senior party workers expressing strong dissent over the appointment of former Congress Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana as the State president.
According to reports, the party’s fire brand MLC Somu Veerraju, who was coveting the post, has performed the vanishing trick, giving anxious moments to his followers. It was thought Veerraju had accompanied Kanna to Delhi to meet the party bigwigs. However, when his whereabouts were not known, many of his followers have decided to quit the party, throwing the State BJP into a crisis.
Veerraju has been in the forefront to rebut charges of the Telugu Desam Party after it quit the NDA govenrment and broke all ties with the BJP recently. He was a strong contender to the post, although Kanna, along with former Minister P Manikyala Rao and former Union Minister D Purandeswari were in the race for the top post. But most of the senior leaders were expecting Veerraju to get the nomination ahead of the rest.
The BJP’s idea is to lure the powerful Kapu community to which Kanna, as well as Veerraju and Manikyala Rao belong. The community has been rudderless after the failure of Praja Rajyam Party floated by film star K Chiranjeevi, who later merged the party in the Congress. When his younger brother, Power Star Pawan Kalyan founded the Jana Sena Party nearly five years ago, the community looked to him eagerly. But Pawan Kalyan proved to be a slow starter not ready to contest in the
2014 elections. When he recently came out with a scathing attack on TDP corruption and named N Chandrababu Naidu and his son Lokesh, people thought he had swung into action. However, he failed to sustain the tempo and kept his followers guessing all the time.
The BJP’s decision to take the Kapus into its fold is prudent. Kanna has community support and is said to be closer to the Kapu movement leader and former minister Mudragada Padmanabham than Veerraju. .
The BJP leadership has not ignored Veerraju either. In fact, it has given him the key post of State Election Convener in the election year and may now try to convince him to accept it resolve the issue.