Sources in state BJP unit said the party is focusing on seats in Hyderabad district.
While the BJP is contesting all the 119 Assembly seats in Telangana, the party is focusing on 24 urban constituencies in Hyderabad and the adjoining Ranga Reddy district, including the IT corridor.
In 2014, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) had won 15 of these 24 seats, though 10 MLAs had crossed over to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) subsequently. Hyderabad, Secunderabad and Malkajgiri were clinched by the AIMIM, BJP and TDP, respectively, in that year.
Sources in state BJP unit said the party is focusing on seats in Hyderabad district — it is planning to take the fight even to Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) bastions in the Muslim-dominated old city.
Pointing out that in 2014, the TDP won 15 seats in Hyderabad because it benefited from a tie-up with BJP, the party’s strategists claim that it is likely to do well in the urban constituencies. “In the coming elections, we feel, people will prefer the BJP over the TRS or the TDP… The anti-incumbency vote will also go in favour of the BJP. We are also looking at votes from Muslim-dominated areas, which traditionally voted for the MIM, as people are unhappy with that party,” BJP manifesto committee chairman and former MLA NVSS Prabhakar told The Indian Express. All the five incumbent BJP MLAs are from urban constituencies of Hyderabad.
Claiming that there was a covert alliance between the MIM and the TRS, Prabhakar said: “The MIM leadership is rattled now… As the BJP is now seen as a threat, the TRS is also indirectly helping the MIM by fielding weak candidates in constituencies won by MIM in the past, which has revealed the nexus between the two parties.”
BJP MLC and national executive member N Ramchandra Rao said that apart from 24 urban seats, the party was looking at six or seven semi-urban seats adjoining the urban areas.
“Definitely our focus is on about 30 seats in and around Hyderabad and semi-urban seats nearby. Apart from the 24 urban seats, we are looking at constituencies like Pargi, Vikarabad, Chevella, Tandur etc. In these four-five seats , the BJP will gain because of the fear of the MIM. As Andhra people voted for TDP in 2014, the party mistakenly believes that in this election too people will vote for it. Our surveys reveal that in 2014, Andhra people in Hyderabad voted for TDP due to the tie-up with BJP, Narendra Modi-factor, and due to sympathy for N Chandrababu Naidu following bifurcation of the state. In this election, most Andhra people in Hyderabad will vote for the BJP. In urban and semi-urban constituencies, a majority of anti-incumbency vote will go to BJP,” Rao said.
While the MIM has 10 councillors in the 31-member Tandur Municipality in Vikarabad district, it has “good presence in a few other pockets and the fear that MIM candidates may win with support from the TRS will benefit BJP a lot”, a BJP leader pointed out.
The BJP is also looking at Ibrahimpatnam and Maheshwaram constituencies in Ranga Reddy district — TDP won from the two seats in 2014. The BJP had won from Musheerabad, Uppal, Khairtabad, Goshamahal and Amberpet — all Assembly constituencies in Hyderabad — that year. Victory in these constituencies, sources said, could make the BJP the kingmaker in the state.