Is North Andhra TDP stalwart and Vizianagaram royal scion Ashok Gajapati Raju planning to chart out a new political course? Is he planning to leave the TDP and join the BJP? Otherwise, what explains the regular meetings he is having with the local BJP leaders these days?
Ashok Gajapati has of late been meeting the BJP local leaders on a regular basis. The BJP leaders are visiting his office-cum-residence, which till recently housed the TDP district office. This has given rise to the suspicion that Ashok Gajapati is planning to look for alternatives. While Raju Garu himself has not said anything, the unusual regularity of the BJP visits to his fort has become a topic of discussion.
Sources close to the Vizianagaram fort say that Raju is upset that the TDP has not paid much attention to the issues he was facing during the Mansas Trust episode. While the YSRCP was aggressively cornering him, the TDP leaders in the district had moved away the district office from his fort and began functioning independent of him. The state party leadership too did not stand by him, feels Ashok Gajapati Raju. During this time, though weak and skeletal, the BJP leaders met him regularly and expressed their solidarity with him. This has led to a new-found bonhomie, say political analysts.
However, TDP sources say that there was no question of Ashok Gajapathi Raju joining hands with the BJP. Raju is one of the founding members of the party and has been synonymous with the TDP in Vizianagaram district. He may be unhappy, but this alone would not be reason enough for him to join the BJP, which never had any presence in North Andhra. On his part, Raju Garu is silent and is letting people make their own guesses.