Two women leaders from the Telugu states who had crossed over to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Congress have found place in the list of new office bearers announced on Saturday.
Former union minister Daggubati Purandeswari from Andhra Pradesh and D. K. Aruna from Telangana have been apparently rewarded for switching loyalties.
Purandeswari, who had quit Congress over bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to join the BJP in 2014, has been appointed as the general secretary while D. K. Aruna, who had crossed over on the eve of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, has been named as the national vice-president of the party.
Purandeswari, who served as the minister in Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, is the daughter of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) founder late N. T. Rama Rao.
The 61-year-old contested unsuccessfully for Lok Sabha on BJP ticket from Rajampet in 2014 and Visakhapatnam in 2019.
She entered electoral politics in 2004 by joining Congress party following differences with her sister’s husband and then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu.
Purandeswari’s husband D. Venkateswara Rao had backed Naidu in the revolt against their father-in-law N. T. Rama Rao in August 1995. However, he later joined Congress as Naidu had started sidelining him.
She was elected to Lok Sabha from Bapatla in 2004 when Congress party led by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy stormed to power in then undivided Andhra Pradesh. In 2006 she became a minister at the Centre.
A gemology graduate from Chennai’s South Indian Educational Trust and Women’s College and a Kuchipudi dancer, Purandeswari was elected to Lok Sabha from Visakhapatnam in 2009 and again became a minister as UPA retained power.
D. K. Aruna, one of the prominent women leaders of Congress in Telangana, joined BJP after she was assured a Lok Sabha ticket from Mahabubnagar. She, however, lost the election to M. Srinivas Reddy of TRS.
The 60-year-old served as the minister in the cabinets of Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and K. Rosaiah in undivided Andhra Pradesh in 2004-2010.
Elected from Gadwal Assembly constituency in 2004, 2009 and 2014, Aruna lost the 2018 elections.
Former president of BJP’s Telangana unit K. Laxman has also found a place in J. P. Nadda’s team. Laxman, a former legislator, has been appointed OBC Morcha president.
Satya Kumar from Andhra Pradesh has retained his position as the national secretary.
However, three prominent BJP faces from Telugu states were dropped in the reshuffle. They include Ram Madhav and P. Muralidhar Rao, who were general secretaries in the previous team. Another key leader G. V. L. Narasimha Rao has also been removed as the party spokesperson.