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BJP’s AP chief pick ruffles feathers in State unit

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on May 15, 2018 Published on May 15, 2018

Kanna Lakshminarayana   -  THE HINDU

For 62-year-old Kanna Lakshminarayana, a heavy responsibility has been thrust on him by the BJP high command to build and lead the party in Andhra Pradesh for the 2019 general elections.

This former weightlifter and five-time MLA from Guntur district is a political heavyweight and belongs to the Kapu community.

His appointment has not been a smooth affair, indicating rough times ahead. Soma Veeraju, who was nominated to head the election committee, was eyeing the post.

He expressed disappointment over the selection, and a few of his followers even quit the party. Ahead of the announcement of Kanna Lakshminarayana’s name, speculation was rife that he was all set to join the YSR Congress Party and that he was also being wooed by the Telugu Desam Party.

All these appear to have pushed the BJP to accelerate the process of appointment, say political observers.

In picking Kanna Lakshminarayana, who was Agriculture Minister in the Congress government of Kiran Kumar Reddy, Amit Shah and the BJP are trying to woo the Kapu vote.

Chandrababu Naidu is facing growing resentment from the Kapu community, which has been demanding reservation. The rise and popularity of megastar Pawan Kalyan, the Jana Sena chief, is largely attributed to the community factor.

Similarly, the moves of JD Laxminarayana, a former Joint Director of the CBI, who became popular for his role in the ‘Quid pro quo’ case involving YS Jaganmohan Reddy, are being watched keenly in political circles. The IPS officer quit the service recently and is touring AP with intent of entering politics.

By opting for Kanna, the BJP has definitely raised the political temperature in the State. Fresh from parting ways with the ruling Telugu Desam Party, the BJP wants to substantially increase its numbers in AP in the 2019 parliamentary elections. Even a a fewseats could be crucial for the party.

Published on May 15, 2018
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