‘Many probable candidates have joined the party and many more are likely to join’.
NEW DELHI: The Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS), which has announced its expansion plan, is contemplating contesting all the 288 seats in Maharashtra. According to a party leader who did not want to be named, many probable candidates have joined the party and many more are likely to join in the days to come. “We have got many leaders who are probable candidates. Even many of them have contested twice or thrice. A lot of changes will take place in the political landscape as the elections approach. However, elections are a year away so we have a lot of time to think about the candidates. Right now we are focusing on membership drive. Big leaders will join the party once they have a ready-made organisation. We have just taken off. Only a bare minimum process has started,’’ the party leader said.
‘’The party has started its enrolment programme in all the 288 assembly constituencies and succeeded in enrolling approximately 1 lakh members in the last week,’’ he said. The party is going before the people with the growth story of Telangana and they are accepting it, he said. “In drought-prone areas water supply is erratic in Maharashtra while there are water supply connections in almost all the villages in Telangana. There is a scheme called Rythu Bandhu under which input cost for the farmer is nil. There is a proper power supply and farmers are insured. Till now Telangana government has disbursed Rs 80,000 crore among farmers through various schemes,’’ he said. He said the party is registering more membership in the Marathwarada region because that is the area where rate of farmers’ suicide is high. “This is our advantage as it is the basis of our slogan Abki Bar Kisan Sarkar. This has made our job easier. That is why we are saying that we will form a government of farmers,’’ he added.
As part of the expansion plan, Telangana Chief Minister and BRS supremo, recently held rallies in parts of Maharashtra including Nanded. He had changed the name of the party from Telangana Rashtra Samithi to Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) underling its intentions to become a national party. However, political observers expressed skepticism over the party’s prospects in the state and said that it may end up causing a dent to secular votes in the state. “BJP votes will remain intact. The BRS will most likely cut votes of Maha Vikas Aghadi. Still the party is seen as a B team of the BJP. The party may have to fight for muslim votes with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen with whom it has friendly contests in Telangana,’’ Aurangabad-based senior journalist Pramod Mane said. Mane pointed out that the party had not been able to get tall leaders on board and those who have joined the party are second or third rand leaders who did not get importance in other parties. However, he agreed that the party may succeed in getting votes of farmers who may fall for the promises. “Overall performance may be less than the expectations. However, there is still a lot of time and there is room for improvements,’’ he said. He also pointed out that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party is also trying to make inroads in the state which too will ultimately help the BJP or its alliance parties.