Andhra BJP legislator defects ahead of Advani rally

November 12th, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata PartyHyderabad, Nov 12 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a setback in Andhra Pradesh as one of its two legislators defected to the ruling Congress party Wednesday, a day ahead of L.K. Advani’s public meeting here as part of his countrywide ‘Vijay Sankalp Yatra’.Dorababu, who represents Pithapuram constituency in East Godavari district, visited the Congress legislature party office and said he was joining the ruling party.

The BJP legislator said he would make an announcement in this regard in a couple of days. This will reduce BJP’s strength to one in the 294-member state assembly.

The development came a day before Advani’s public meeting at Parade Grounds in Secunderabad.

After massive shows of strength by actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) recently, the BJP is gearing up to organise a mammoth public meet in the run up to the ensuing elections.

The meet is being organised as part of Advani’s ongoing country-wide ‘Vijay Sankalp Yatra’ aimed at bringing the party to power in poll-bound states and at the centre.

Andhra Pradesh is likely to witness simultaneous polls to the state assembly and Lok Sabha in February-March next year.

The BJP has decorated the city with flags, festoons, banners and pictures of Advani, who is likely to make a clear-cut announcement about his party’s support to the demand for separate statehood to the Telangana region. BJP sources said he was also likely to send a clear message to pro-Telangana parties that the party was ready to work with them to achieve the goal.

Telangana has emerged as a key issue with TDP and Chiranjeevi’s Praja Rajyam Party announcing their support to the four-decade-old demand for separate statehood to Telangana, which comprises 10 districts including Hyderabad.

BJP is going all out to make the meeting a huge success as it is the party’s first major show of strength after the drubbing it received in the 2004 elections. BJP was then an ally of the TDP, which snapped ties with the former after the polls.

Since BJP is considered strong in some Telangana districts, the party will use the meet to promise a separate statehood in the event of it coming to power at the centre.

In an attempt to show BJP’s ‘commitment’ to the Telangana issue, party state president Bandaru Dattatreya has invited popular balladeer Gaddar to Advani’s meeting. Gaddar is considered a Maoist sympathiser and is also fighting for a separate Telangana.

“Telangana will certainly be a main issue at the meeting,” Dattatreya said, adding that the meet will also expose the vote bank politics of the Congress and the failure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government on all fronts.

Advani, the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, is also likely to focus on terrorism.

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