BJP eyes Kamma votes with Purandeswari as its Andhra unit chief

The appointment of former Union minister Daggubati Purandeswari as the president of BJP’s Andhra Pradesh unit is seen as an attempt by the party to kill two birds with one stone.

The saffron party is not only looking to tap the votes of Kammas, the politically powerful and influential community, but also checkmate Telugu Desam Party (TDP) President N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Purandeswari is the sister-in-law of Naidu and daughter of TDP founder and former Chief Minister late N.T. Rama Rao, who was popularly known as NTR.

Kammas have been traditional supporters of the TDP and by appointing a Kamma, and that too a family member of NTR, as the President of the party’s state unit, the BJP is clearly looking at wresting TDP’s vote bank.

“The BJP knows that it can make big inroads in the state by winning. The support of Kammas and hence it chose a prominent figure from this community to lead the party’s state unit,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

With this move, the BJP also wants to checkmate Chandrababu Naidu in the long run.

“BJP can never forgive what Chandrababu Naidu did to it,” said the analyst, referring. To TDP pulling out of the BJP-led NDA in 2018 and Naidu launching. An all-out attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the past, the Congress had also roped in Purandeswari to counter Chandrababu Naidu.

NTR had floated TDP on an anti-Congress plank, but his daughter Purandeswari. And her husband Daggubati Venkateswara Rao joined the Congress in 2004.

Purandeswari, who was elected to the Lok Sabha twice on Congress ticket and even became. A minister in the UPA government, switched loyalty to BJP in 2014 following the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

She contested from the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency in 2019, but finished a poor fourth.

Her husband, however, preferred YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and contested for Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Parchur. Daggubati, who had won the seat on Congress ticket in 2004 and 2009, lost the election.

Daggubati, who had backed Chandrababu Naidu in the 1995 coup against NTR, later came back to his father-in-law. After NTR’s death, he remained with NTR TDP (LP) for some time. In 1999, he joined Anna TDP floated by Harikrishna. After the party’s humiliating defeat, he stayed away from politics for a few years. In 2004, he along with his wife joined the Congress.

Unhappy with the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, Purandeswari and her husband quit the Congress. She joined the BJP, which rewarded her with the post of national general secretary. She was also made the party in-charge for Odisha.

As NTR’s name is still a vote catcher in Andhra Pradesh, BJP hopes. To cash in on the TDP founder’s legacy. This is a significant move as in every election, Chandrababu Naidu faces attack from rival parties for being a backstabber.

Purandeswari is the first among NTR’s children to become the President of the state unit of a national party.

NTR’s son and popular actor Balakrishna is also a sitting legislator in Andhra Pradesh. However, it is Naidu who has been running the show and trying to promote. His only son Nara Lokesh as his successor. Lokesh is also the son-in-law of Balakrishna.

By appointing Purandeswari, the saffron party is also looking to derive the benefit. Of appointing a woman as the party chief. Currently, the major players in the state politics are all headed. By men and the BJP will be hoping to get the support of women voters.

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