BREAKING NEWS

Is Chiranjeevi on BJP’s radar for Tirupati Bypoll?

If one were to believe the rumours that are occupying political space in Andhra Pradesh, then there’s news that former Praja Rajyam founder and actor Chiranjeevi is being roped in for the upcoming Tirupati Bypolls. 
 
With Jana Sena allying with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state and directing Pawan Kalyan and his team not to contest, there are hopes that the saffron party may spring up a surprise by bringing Chiranjeevi either for campaigning or directly, announcing him as the candidate from Jana Sena to split TDP’s vote bank in the temple town. 
 
Apparently, the BJP has devised a three-pronged strategy, including the slogan ‘Tirumala Rakshinchalante BJP Tirupati Gelavalanthe’ (To save Tirumala, BJP has to win Tirupati), to make the upcoming bypoll a triangular contest, if not clinch it. 
 
The saffron brigade in the last one year has been vocal about various issues pertaining to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and has been accusing the YSRC government of being an “anti-Hindu” regime. With temple attacks in the state increasing, it is clear that the BJP is trying its best to introduce a religious agenda in the state, going by the ongoing protests and hijacking the political narrative. 
 
However, Andhra Pradesh could be a tough nut to crack for the saffron party. Given that the ruling YSRCP and the TDP has a strong base in the state, its strategy of working its way like in Telangana’s Dubbaka bypoll may not really work in the state. Therefore, BJP is trying very hard to not only add glamour but also balance caste equations while also propagating its Hindutva agenda. 
 
While YSRCP and BJP are known to be backdoor allies, the saffron party is trying to portray Jagan as a Christian CM after a spate of recent temple attacks in the state. While this bitter-sweet relationship between the two parties continues, it remains to be seen how the BJP will use Jana Sena for its benefit as the party neither has strong cadre nor caste-based backing. On the other hand, this Tirupati byelection is a crucial one for TDP to prove its might while its cadre seems to be dwindling. 
 
For now, though, these media leaks of bringing Chiranjeevi back seem more like the BJP is testing perception and weighing its moves carefully. 

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