New Delhi, Oct. 9: Jaganmohan Reddy’s mother Vijayamma today met BJP president Rajnath Singh, a day after she called on CPM general secretary Prakash Karat, triggering speculation that regional outfits were keeping “options open” in the lead-up to 2014.
BJP sources described their chief’s meeting with the YSR Congress working president as “very good”, though Rajnath, they said, had made it clear that his party was in favour of carving out a Telangana state.
A party leader said the meeting, days after Telugu Desam boss Chandrababu Naidu had called on Rajnath, had “shattered the perception” that the BJP had become “untouchable” after it named Narendra Modi as its man for Prime Minister.
CPM leaders, however, appeared disheartened, with some wondering why Vijayamma had met Rajnath. “The BJP is firmly in favour of Telangana. There could be some political signalling in Jagan’s mother meeting the BJP president,” said a senior leader.
The CPM, which has been consistently against a division of Andhra, has been looking for a “secular” partner in the state as Desam chief Naidu, once its most trusted allies, clearly appears to be tilting towards the BJP. Vijayamma’s meeting with Karat to build opinion against dividing Andhra had raised hopes in CPM circles that the YSR Congress could be part of the undeclared “alternative” front it has been trying to cobble together.
CPM leaders were even toying with the idea of inviting the YSR Congress to its October 30 convention against communalism.
If the CPM brooded, the BJP appeared upbeat, though the party refrained from reading any political meaning in today’s meeting. “After the Desam, the YSR Congress, too, is trying to send feelers that it had not closed the option of joining the NDA post-2014. It shatters the popular perception that Narendra Modi is untouchable,” a BJP leader said, pointing out that Jagan had praised the Gujarat leader for his administrative acumen.
Jagan had last month said he admired Modi’s administrative skills but not his ideology.
BJP sources said Rajnath repeated his party’s stand on Telangana but sought to reach out to Vijayamma. “Rajnathji told Jagan’s mother that had the BJP been in power, it would have consulted all the stakeholders and ensured the division was done peacefully,” said a party leader, adding that Vijayamma appreciated what Rajnath told her.
Vijayamma was accompanied by daughter Sharmila and daughter-in-law Bharati.
Although Naidu appears keen to return to the NDA fold, the BJP so far has not taken a call. Party insiders said the leadership wants to keep options open to make up for the loss of the Janata Dal (United), which walked out of the NDA over Modi’s projection.