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BJP gaining ground in Andhra Pradesh after decline of Congress

Hyderabad: With Congress relegated to the margins post bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the BJP appears to be gaining ground in the new state and also emerging as an alternative for senior leaders from Congress and other parties.

Former minister and senior Congress leader from Guntur district Kanna Lakshminarayana has already announced his plans to join BJP and several other leaders in Congress and YSR Congress, who feel insecure about their political future, are reportedly contemplating joining the saffron party.

Prior to the elections, senior Congress leaders like D Purandeswari and K S Rao, who quit as Union Ministers in protest against the bifurcation of undivided AP, joined the BJP. "We are open to those who come voluntarily. We are not encouraging or luring anyone to join BJP," Andhra Pradesh BJP president and Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha member K Hari Babu told PTI.

Facing the wrath of electorate over the division of Andhra Pradesh, Congress, which had been in power for 10 years, failed to win even a single Assembly and Lok Sabha seat in the elections earlier this year. On the other hand, BJP, in alliance with TDP, made impressive gains by bagging two Lok Sabha seats and four Assembly segments.

Haribabu said there is a political vaccum with the decline of Congress in the state. "There is a vacuum with the decline of Congress. Definitely, there is a momentum in favour of BJP. But, we are not mobilising people to join us," he said. BJP would like to grow in Andhra Pradesh and it is taking up membership drive from November six with a meeting to be held in Guntur, Haribabu said.

However, he said the BJP is in alliance with the TDP both at the Centre and in AP and would not like to fight with the latter.

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