The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the state received a jolt on Thursday as its legislator from Bodhan, Shakeel Ahmed, called on BJP MP from Nizamabad, Dharmapuri Arvind, sparking speculation that he may jump ship.
The BJP presently has only one legislator in the Assembly – Goshamahal MLA Raja Singh – and hopes to lure more leaders from the TRS to emerge as a strong force in the state.
It is also interesting to note that not only is Shakeel the only Muslim legislator who was elected on a TRS ticket, he is also considered close to former Nizamabad MP K Kavitha, the daughter of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who lost to Arvind in the polls earlier this year.
"Bodhan MLA Shakeel garu (TRS) paid a visit to me at my residence today. We had a wide range of discussions on current political scenario in state and Nizamabad district," Arvind tweeted.
Bodhan MLA Shakeel garu(TRS) paid a visit to me at my residence today.We had a wide range of discussions on current political scenario in state and Nizamabad district.@AmitShah @JPNadda @BJP4Telangana pic.twitter.com/2y3jMvd7rg— Arvind Dharmapuri (@Arvindharmapuri) September 12, 2019
The BJP in the state is presently reiterating its demand for the state government to celebrate September 17 as 'Liberation Day'.
The date holds historical significance as it was on this day in 1948 that the Indian Union, led by Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Patel, annexed Hyderabad state through police action, dubbed 'Operation Polo’ and wrested power from Mir Osman Ali Khan, the last Nizam of the princely state.
The BJP's claims are not new but the party seems to be upping the ante after it won four Parliamentary seats in the state and is now eyeing the 2023 Legislative Assembly elections, where it is planning to make a bid to seize power.
Shakeel's meeting with Arvind also comes as the recent Cabinet expansion in Telangana had caused dissent in the ranks of the ruling party, with senior leaders and former ministers openly expressing their displeasure at being excluded by KCR.