Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan will campaign for the BJP ahead of municipal elections due in Hyderabad next month. This was decided after a meeting between Mr Kalyan and Jana Sena leader and former Speaker Nadendla Manohar, with the BJP's Dr K Laxman and Minister of State Kishan Reddy, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Secunderabad.
On Tuesday, Mr Kalyan had announced that the Jana Sena would contest 60 of 150 wards in accordance with "strong wishes of the party rank and file". Today, though, he appealed to his party cadre and leaders to withdraw to ensure the BJP vote does not get split.
"Election results in Bihar and Dubbak shows that everywhere, in every corner of the country, they want the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I hope Hyderabad emerges as a developed world city under the leadership of the Prime Minister," Mr Kalyan said after today's meeting.
"With all my heart I hope that a BJP candidate becomes Mayor of Hyderabad," he added.
Mr Kalyan also apologised to party workers for the about-face, and said that the Jana Sena would ally with the BJP for the next election. "This time it could not happen because of Covid and then the floods," he explained.
Mr Kalyan also recalled that even in 2014 he had campaigned, unconditionally, for the BJP as he believed in the leadership of PM Modi. The Jana Sena did not ally with the BJP in 2019.
"We are happy they have agreed to our appeal and said the party and leaders would work towards the victory of the BJP in the municipal elections," Kishan Reddy said.
"The government (of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao) is claiming they spent Rs 67,000 crore on Hyderabad.. but where has it been spent? It is not visible. People want a change. In future too, we will work together with the Jana Sena for development of Telangana," Mr Reddy added.
Polling for the 150-seat Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) will take place between 7 AM and 6 PM December 1; polling has been extended by an hour due to the Covid pandemic.
In the 2016 polls the ruling TRS of Chief Minister Rao won 99 seats. The BJP won just four.
This time, however, boosted by the Assembly bypoll result in Dubbak, the BJP hopes to win many more and carve out a space for itself ahead of state elections in 2024.