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The BJP’s national executive meeting begins in Hyderabad; Telangana Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao skips personally receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport

Print edition : Aug 04, 2022 T+T-

The BJP’s national executive meeting begins in Hyderabad; Telangana Chief Minister Chandrashekar Rao skips personally receiving Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the airport

Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao presenting a memento to the opposition’s presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha during a function  in Hyderabad on July 2.

Chief Minister of Telangana K. Chandrashekar Rao presenting a memento to the opposition’s presidential candidate Yashwant Sinha during a function in Hyderabad on July 2. | Photo Credit: G. RAMAKRISHNA

The ongoing political battle in Telangana between the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took on another hue as the saffron party began a two-day meeting of their national executive in Hyderabad from July 2. Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, who has torn into both the BJP and the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent months, once again chose not to personally receive the Prime Minister when he landed at Hyderabad’s Begumpet airport.

Protocol mandates that the Chief Minister of a State receive the President or the Prime Minister when they visit a State. By breaking this, Chandrashekar Rao has set of another war of words. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted that the Telangana Chief Minister, by “breaching protocol on purpose yet again, [had] insulted the institution of both Chief minister and Prime Minister”. Pradhan went on to tweet that Chandrashekar Rao “can hide but his corrupt politics will not remain hidden”.

Chandrashekar Rao’s refusal to receive the Prime Minister was even more glaring since he was at the airport with members of his Cabinet just three hours prior to Modi’s arrival, warmly receiving Yashwant Sinha, the opposition’s presidential candidate. The Chief Minister accompanied Yashwant Sinha from the airport to Jal Vihar, the venue for a meeting that was organised to garner support for Sinha’s candidature. Surrounded by thousands of TRS workers, Chandrashekar Rao tore into Narendra Modi and his talk of India becoming a $5 trillion economy. Said the Chief Minister: “In China, there is less talk and more action, therefore, the outcome is its pacing economy. Here all talk, no work, so no outcome.... Make in India is a big lie. People are losing their jobs and labourers are on the road.”

But the BJP were having none of the jibes as a sea of banners, buntings, posters, and party flags welcomed the saffron party’s top brass, including Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP national president J.P.Nadda, a number of BJP Chief Ministers including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, and Deputy Chief Ministers from the 19 National Democratic Alliance (NDA)-ruled States, BJP national committee members, and State party presidents as they descended on Hyderabad for the two-day meet.

The BJP’s high-level policy meeting is being held in Hyderabad after 18 years and is the first physical meeting of the national executive outside the national capital in five years. Sources in the party attribute the decision to hold the national executive meet in Hyderabad as a step to fuel its ‘Mission South’ agenda and as an aid in its battle for Telangana, which goes to the polls in a year. The BJP, which was throunced in the December 2018 Assembly elections by the TRS, winning just one seat in the 119-member Telangana Assembly, has since seen its presence grow in the State. It has won both the Dubbaka (2020) and Huzurabad (2021) byelections and has done admirably in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in 2020 for the first time, winning 48 of the corporation’s 150 wards. The BJP also managed to win four seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, against the TRS’ nine.

In the build-up to the national executive meet, the BJP had constituted 34 committees to oversee the arrangements and Union Ministers, present and past BJP MPs, and party functionaries were directed to spend 48 hours and meet with people in each of the State’s 119 Assembly constituencies as part of the saffron party’s ‘Mission Telangana’.

Besides the BJP’s 80-member national executive and the 179-permanent invitees, also attending are 50 special invitees. The two-day meet is expected to deliberate over the party’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, the recently formed BJP government in Maharashtra, and will pass economic and political resolutions. Modi, who is scheduled to address a public meeting on July 3 at the Parade Ground, is expected to spell out the party’s road map as it gears up for Assembly elections in States such as Gujarat.