After TDP spat, BJP to woo Telugu voters in Karnataka

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Hyderabad: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is sending Telugu leaders to Karnataka, fearing that the spat between the BJP-ruled centre and its alliance partner Telugu Desam Party (TDP) might impact Telugu voters in the Karnataka assembly elections due later this year.

TDP, which rules Andhra Pradesh, has threatened to walk out of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance over the centre’s failure to give AP special category status.

The meetings are set to begin in the next 10 days or so, said a senior leader from the BJP’s Telangana unit, asking not to be named. He said the party is worried that Telugu voters in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka may not vote for the BJP because of the spat.

“We have to see if this issue affects us, because it is being made to look as if the BJP is responsible for AP’s problems,” the BJP leader said. He added that community meetings will be held in places like Bidar, Kalaburgi, Bellary and Kolar which have a sizable chunk of about 30% Telugu voters in some assembly segments.

Reddys and a few other Telegu speaking communities are classified as Vokkaligas in Karnataka—believed to be the second largest community in the state.

“The issue in AP with regard to SCS and funding in the Union Budget 2018 will be a huge factor in the Karnataka elections. Many people from Rayalaseema region have settled in Bengaluru and in other parts of south Karnataka and have strong ties back home. So their nativity will be a factor while voting and the tiff between AP and the centre might have some influence,” said Hyderabad-based political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

Reddy added that many Telugu-speaking people have also settled in places like Davanagere and Manipal after going there to study years ago and that such social or regional groups will have links with their native places. “So if someone thinks that his home state, which is AP, has been cheated by the BJP, there is every possibility he or she might vote against it,” he added.livemint