Is BJP Cozying up with YSR Congress?

Politics they say makes strange bedfellows. It looks like a new political combination is evolving in Andhra Pradesh. In an apparent bid to cash in on the ongoing political turmoil, the BJP is trying to cozy up with YS Jagan.

The first indications to this effect were felt when BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy termed YS Jagan’s arrest as political vendetta. But, a more interesting development happened last Wednesday.

Read this excerpt from a report published by reputed news magazine India Today to know more about this new alliance in the making:

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union minister Maneka Gandhi called up Vijayalakshmi on Wednesday evening when the latter was in an election rally at Payakaraopet in Visakhapatnam district. Maneka, who is the sister-in-law of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, expressed her solidarity towards Jagan’s mother in her fight against the Congress party.

When contacted, Maneka confirmed that she had spoken to Vijayalakshmi and expressed solidarity with her. “It is true that I spoke to her last evening and conveyed my sympathies to her. I felt really sorry for that woman,” she said.

According to sources in the YSR Congress party, Maneka expressed her sympathies to Vijayamma and her family, which was being subjected to “harassment” by the Congress party for defying the leadership of Sonia Gandhi. “I have been watching the developments in Andhra Pradesh and am aware of the harassment meted out to you and your family by Sonia Gandhi-led Congress party. I totally empathise with you. In fact, the entire country is sympathetic towards your plight,” she is learnt to have said.

Maneka reminded Vijayalakshmi that she was also a victim of a witch-hunt by Sonia Gandhi. “I am confident you are facing the situation with a lot of courage. Be bold and never succumb to any pressures. I express my total solidarity with you and I hope you will overcome your troubles very soon,” party sources quoted her as saying.

Later, Maneka spoke for a while to Vijayalakshmi’s daughter Sharmila, who is also participating in the election campaign. The BJP leader asked her to take care of her mother’s health during the electioneering.

Maneka’s support to Vijayalakshmi lent credence to the speculations that the BJP is open to an alliance with the YSR Congress party in the future. The BJP national leadership had also condemned Jagan’s arrest as political vendetta. Party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy had targeted the Congress on Jagan’s arrest, insisting that those in power in Andhra Pradesh and facing charges in the same cases continue to hold Cabinet berths.

However, the BJP later changed its stand and said the arrest was “waiting to happen”. However, the party blamed the Congress party for the mess in Andhra Pradesh. Spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said the CBI should thoroughly probe the case and arrest the ministers involved in the controversial decisions taken during the YSR regime.

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