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BJP is under pressure to dilute its stand on Telangana
The main opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been challenging the Congress-led UPA government to bring Telangana bill in the parliament, seems to be coming under clouds on this issue after the Congress moving ahead on it.

The party which was sure to emerge as a major political player in Telangana region in 2014 polls by promising the people that it would realise their dream of Telangana state after coming to power at the center, is now worrying on its falling prospects in the region after Congress Working Committee resolved favouring Telangana state on July 30, this year.

This has paid initial dividends with large number of people and leaders from other parties showing interest to join BJP ahead of 2014 polls. Among them prominent Telangana activist and former minister Dr. Nagam Janardhana Reddy, who had earlier resigned from Telugu Desam Party to take active part in Telangana agitation joined BJP. He is five-time legislator.

In fact, after BJP national leadership resolved demanding separate statehood for Telangana region in 2006 only, the Telangana movement initiated by Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2001 started gradually intensifying. BJP national leaders have been demanding immediate bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, assuring Congress-led UPA government to extend their support if it presents a bill on Telangana in the Parliament.

During the 2009 polls, BJP stalwart and former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani promised to create Telangana state within 100 days of BJP coming into power. BJP national president Rajnath Singh went ahead and even asked the UPA government to convey a special session of the Parliament only to take up Telangana bill.

However, after sensing that Congress may swept in Telangana region if it succeeded in its attempt to bring Telangana bill in the next Parliament session, BJP leaders seem to be not comfortable. They are asking themselves, why they should pave way for the Congress to take advantage of Telangana issue with BJP support. This has been giving scope to speculate that the party may oppose the bill with one or other plea once it is tabled in the Parliament.

Recent political developments are also suggesting that BJP is gradually deviating from its pro-Telangana stand. For the first time, a big batch of BJP leaders from Seemandhra region went Delhi, met party's senior leaders and demanded that concerns of people from their region should be addressed first before passing the Telangana bill in the Parliament.

L K Advani told them that in the present, tensed situation it is not possible to go ahead on Telangana. "When NDA created three new states it succeeded in bringing normalcy in those states before legislation", he reminded.

Both Rajnath Singh and L K Advani reportedly assured the Seemandhra leaders that Telangana and Seemandhra would mean the same for the party and it would keep in mind all the concerns of the Seemandhra people while discussing the Telangana Bill in Parliament.

"We won’t support the Bill, if it does not address the concerns of the Seemandhra people and provide adequate safeguards to them in Hyderabad," Seemandhra BJP leaders quoted top BJP leaders as saying as reported by the media.

In addition to this, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s attempt to revive party’s alliance with Telugu Desam Party is also likely to dilute its stand on Telangana. For the first time in recent past, he shared dais with Telugu Desam chief N Chadnrababu Naidu in New Delhi on October 2, giving indications of possible poll pact between the two parties.

Though Chandrababu Naidu is tactically not opposing Telangana statehood, he is badly seeking next polls in the undivided state only, to improve his prospects of winning. Bifurcation of the state before polls is likely to be disastrous for his party.

As Narendra Modi is desperately trying to attract secular allies to delete his communal image, he is also aware that to woo TDP into NDA fold, there is need to put the Telangana agenda on backburner, at least for the time being.

Narendra Modi is also known for not having any love for Telangana as he had never openly expressed his support to the statehood demand. And this is precisely why the BJP leaders from the Seemandhra region, who had been keeping silent for the last two months, suddenly woke up and started raising Seemandhra concerns.

Apparently backed by senior leaders like M Venkaiah Naidu, who is leaving no stone unturned to bring the TDP into the NDA fold, the Seemandhra leaders made a beeline to New Delhi and brought pressure on the BJP leadership including Advani, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitely and others to take up the Seemandhra cause.

Though none of the Seemandhra BJP leaders, except former MLA Dr K Haribabu from Visakhapatnam, had any major positions in the party, the top BJP leaders gave them a lot of time to discuss the fallout of agitations in the Seemandhra region.

They made it clear that though the party is not against division of the state, it cannot ignore the feelings and sentiments of Seemandhra people.

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