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In July, the Bharatiya Janata Party held its national executive meeting in Hyderabad. The event, its marquee annual strategy conclave, was attended by the party’s biggest stars, including, of course, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from the statements and press leaks the event produced, the location of the meeting was in itself a significant hint about the BJP’s strategy: the saffron party was making a strong bid for expansion in the state of Telangana.
The decision to concentrate on the state is not surprising. At the moment, the saffron party’s prospects look bright in Telangana. At first glance, this is not apparent from the votes the BJP has received in previous elections. In the 2018 Assembly polls, the party got just a shade over 7% of the vote. The next year, even as a Modi wave swept India, Telangana remained unmoved and the BJP’s vote share remained unchanged.
However, even at the time, the shoots of the BJP’s emergence were becoming visible. The saffron party managed to defeat the chief minister’s daughter in…