Bandaru Dattatreya: Patience & loyalty pay off

M Somasekhar Hyderabad | Updated on September 02, 2019 Published on September 02, 2019


It’s often said that patience, loyalty and consistent hard work do pay. One may or may not agree with this, but in the case of Bandaru Dattatreya, it fits in well with his political career in the BJP.

Exactly two years to the dot, the fortunes of this 72-year-old ‘People’s Parliamentarian’, as he is called here, have risen again. Dropped in September 2017 from a Cabinet post by Narendra Modi, Dattatreya did not lose heart. Denied a seat from his favourite Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency in 2019, too, did not deter him.

His persistence with service to the RSS and the BJP, extending over half-a-century finally paid off on Sunday, when he was rewarded with a gubernatorial post in Himachal Pradesh, the hill state with a salubrious and peaceful climate.

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The short statured, soft-spoken Dattatreya is the most consistent winner for the BJP from Telangana, having been a four-time MP and having held the portfolios of Railways and Urban Development under Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the Labour Ministry in the first term of the Narendra Modi government. He also served as National Vice-President (2013) and State President (1998) of Andhra Pradesh. To his credit, Dattatreya has stuck to the party through thick and thin, never losing optimism and working at the grass-roots.

A graduate from Osmania University, Dattatreya ran his ministerial positions with least frills and was easily accessible to officials, media and visitors in New Delhi. He is not a forceful or high-flying Parliamentarian or Union Minister in that sense. In his home city of Hyderabad, he is a familiar presence at events, both official and community, even ending up at peoples’ homes on personal invitations.

As a Minister his most noteworthy contribution could be during his stint in Labour, when he brought in several employee-friendly changes for workers in the unorganised sector, including medical benefits, minimum wages, insurance, PF, etc.

Dattatreya’s political career is not without controversy, either. He was named in the charge sheet of the tragic suicide of Rohit Vemula, the Dalit PhD scholar of the University of Hyderabad in 2016, for allegedly bringing political pressure through the local BJP.

In recent years, Dattatreya is the third BJP leader to be rewarded with a gubernatorial post after V Rama Rao (Sikkim) and Ch Vidyasagar Rao (who recently completed his tenure in Maharashtra).

Political dynamics in Telangana

By appointing veteran Dattatreya as Governor, the BJP is paving the way for ‘pressing the accelerator ‘ in its moves to rapidly grow in Telangana. It has already made the 55-year-old G Kishen Reddy (a former state president), Junior Minister of Home under Amit Shah.

The BJP Working President, JP Nadda, has recently spent time in giving a push to the party’s efforts to fast track its membership drive, attract leaders from other parties and bring in changes to achieve its target of grabbing power by 2023 in Telangana.

The state BJP’s efforts are gaining support from the Centre, which has also brought in the physician, Tamilisai Soundrrajan, state BJP President of Tamil Nadu, as the first woman Governor of Telangana in the place of ESL Narasimhan, who shares a good rapport with Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao.

With TRS being the main target of the BJP, the quick moves of the Modi-Shah combine, along with grapevine that overtures to some top leaders of the Telangana Rastra Samithi are receiving favourable signals, is promising to heat up the political scene in Telangana very soon.

Since September 2017, when Telangana had no representation at the Centre after the lone BJP MP Dattatreya was dropped, the BJP in 2019 has 4 MPs, a Cabinet minister and promises more big moves in the near future.

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Published on September 02, 2019
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