Andhra pacts after polls, no signal from Jagan yet: BJP national-secretary Sunil Deodhar

RSS Pracharak-turned-BJP national-secretary Sunil Deodhar has been entrusted with the task of replicating Tripuralike victory in Andhra Pradesh. Speaking to Krishna Kumar, Deodhar admits the party can realistically take shot at power only in 2023. In Mumbai last week, Deodhar spoke of how the anger against the Citizenship amendment bill will not impact the BJP in the northeast and how the party was more shocked with the loss in Chhattisgarh than in MP and Rajasthan. Excerpts:

How do you see the political situation in Andhra Pradesh?

There is anti-incumbency against the ruling TDP government and chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. He has formed an unconstitutional body, Janmabhoomi Committees, in all gram panchayats that controls the delivery of government schemes. This has led to a huge resentment among the people. Besides, people are upset with Naidu for the small amount of compensation paid for their land. The land being acquired for capital Amravati itself is a huge scam. This man came to power saying he would create jobs, now the joke is that the only job he has created is for his son Nara Lokesh.

Naidu is accusing Centre of denying special status and not doing enough for the state…
Naidu is simply sticking labels and claiming credit for Central schemes. He blames all his omissions and commissions on the centre while the reality is different. We have given AP most of what we promised as part of the package.

Why didn’t BJP raise these issues when it was an ally of TDP?

Our four MLAs, including Vishnu Kumar Raju, had raised a number of issues in the Assembly even when we were in the alliance. However, it is true we did not take out any morchas against the government. Jagan Mohan Reddy took advantage of that and huge turnouts have been seen in his padayatras.

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Are you saying BJP has ceded the opposition space to Jaganmohan Reddy?
In the last polls, Jagan lost by a very small margin. Pawan Kalyan had supported the TDP and BJP alliance and even then Jagan trailed by a mere 2% votes.

Are you speaking to Jagan or Pawan Kalyan for alliance?
Alliance may happen after the polls. Our doors are open, however, there is no signal from Jagan or Pawan.

Is BJP on the back foot after loses in MP, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh?
Congress has marched a few steps ahead, however, that does not mean we are disheartened. We will work harder to deny Congress any more wins. In Rajasthan, we did not retain power but we did not lose badly. In MP, we lost quite narrowly. Our real defeat was in Chhattisgarh.

It seems, we could not take our programmes to tribals, maybe we could not serve them well or give them what we assured them. I don’t agree with the talk that farmers are angry with us. Take the crop insurance scheme, neem-coated urea, soil health card, kisan credit card, substantial increase in MSP, you can’t say that nothing has been done for farmers and that they are angry.

A kisan morcha comes (to Delhi) and at the end of the morcha all ‘thugbandhan’ leaders come and address it, this means the march was motivated and there was a different power that was orchestrating it from behind. If the farmer is angry, we would like to understand the reasons, however, the opposition is trying to get political mileage.

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Will the protests against citizenship bill impact BJP?
The current campaign is motivated by outfits and they have been doing it for the last 40 years.



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