NEW DELHI: The ruling BJP at the Centre is gearing up to play along the impending move of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) to advance Assembly elections in Telangana. Clear that the saffron outfit is still far from challenging the ruling TRS in the state, the BJP is seemingly readying to keep prospects alive for the chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao for possible realignment of the NDA after the Lok Sabha elections.
"The state government is within its right to advance Assembly elections. The Election Commission will have a window of six months to hold the elections. Within the BJP, it's clear that that the TRS is on a formidable turf to win re-elections. Yet, the BJP will fiercely contest each Assembly seat as part of the strategy to build base for future," said a senior BJP functionary.
A number of senior BJP functionaries stated that the ruling NDA at the Centre would not come in the way of the TRS move to advance the Assembly elections. "The TRS is seemingly in the same position as the Biju Janata dal (BJD) had been in the 2015 Odisha Assembly elections. The TRS has been able to subsume substantial bases of the Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in the state," said another BJP leader.
Incidentally, the BJP leaders admit that the saffron outfit is largely gaining political space in the state at the expense of the Congress. "We're of the view that the BJP has emerged a significant force in Telangana. But the BJP's gain has largely been at the cost of the Congress, which, indeed, gives the TRS a clear advantage," added the BJP functionary.
The BJP, incidentally, is also looking favourable to the TRS move to advance the Assembly elections on the ground that the chips within the Congress would be down if Rao wins second term comfortably in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Also, the BJP has been eying potential allies post 2019 general elections in the event the saffron umbrella alliance falls short of the halfway mark in the Lok Sabha. The TRS has loosely been counted as NDA Plus on the grounds that the ruling Telangana party has taken friendly stances on a number of occasions in the Parliament, including staging a walk out in the no confidence vote against the Modi government, besides voting for the NDA nominee Harivansh Narayan Singh in the elections of the deputy chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.