Last Updated: August 19, 2022, 14:26 IST
It has now become clear that the BJP is going to play it big in the upcoming Munugode by-election in Telangana, with Union Home Minister Amit Shah slated to visit the constituency on August 21.
The bypoll was necessitated after MLA Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy resigned from the Congress to join the BJP. While infighting ensued in Congress over who would be awarded the ticket, speculation is rife that more Congress leaders are set to join the BJP.
Two days ago, Choutuppal Mandal Praja Parishad President Taduri Venkat Reddy decided to join the BJP in a big jolt to the ruling TRS. He was followed by 100 other local leaders.
The BJP, however, has a small voter base in the constituency which is why the party is making an all-out effort to win the seat. Here’s a look at the five reasons why the Munugode seat is important for the BJP:
- The Bypoll Lure: Bypolls have been a game-changer for the saffron party in the state and it has won two out of four since 2018. While the TRS won the Huzurnagar and Nagarjuna Sagar seats, the BJP wrested Huzurabad and Dubbaka. This has whetted the appetite of the party for more electoral success in Telangana.
- Previous Results: The BJP performed unexpectedly well in the 2020 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in which it gave a neck-and-neck fight to the TRS. While TRS won 55 seats, the BJP grabbed 48. The results bolstered BJP ambitions to be a viable alternative to the TRS for the first time in the southern state. In 2016, the saffron party had won only four seats. In 2020, big-ticket leaders like Amit Shah, Yogi Adityanath and Tejaswi Surya campaigned in the GHMC polls.
- Foothold in Southern Telangana: Political analyst Kambalapally Krishna, who runs a consultancy called Voice of Telangana and Andhra, says that in order to win Telangana, the BJP has to make its presence felt in the southern part of the state. “The BJP is weak in southern Telangana. They have political representatives in Dubaka and Huzurabad, both in northern Telangana. That is why the BJP is mainly concentrating on Rangareddy, Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda and Khammam districts in the south. The Congress is very strong in southern Telangana districts. If the saffron party wants to come to power in 2023, they have to break through these Congress strongholds. The TRS is strong in north and some parts of the south,” said the analyst, who recently published a survey report on Munugode.
- Political Messaging: With TRS and Congress leaders joining the BJP and Amit Shah visiting Munugode, the party is sending a message that it is a viable alternative to the TRS. It is also creating a roadmap for the next Assembly election in the state scheduled to be conducted in 2023.
- Risk-taking: The party’s recent parliamentary board reshuffle, during which a few prominent names were dropped, shows that the BJP is not averse to taking risks. Kambalapally Krishna says the party is ready for a do-or-die battle. “The BJP is taking a huge risk with Munugode. Out of 2.18 lakh voters in the constituency, the saffron party has an average voter base of only 10,000-13,000 voters. They have to capture at least one lakh votes to taste victory.”