The BJP today sought to downplay the support extended to the NDA's vice-presidential candidate by the TRS as "incidental" and "not unusual" and made it clear the saffron party's aim is to come to power on its own in Telangana in 2019.
"This is incidental," said Telangana BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao when asked about the ruling TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samiti) backing M Venkaiah Naidu for the post.
The regional outfit, led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, had also backed NDA's presidential nominee Ram Nath Kovind. The BJP is an opposition party in the state.
"The support extended by the TRS to both presidential and vice-presidential candidates (of NDA) is incidental', the BJP spokesperson told PTI, noting that as many as six parties, including the YSR Congress, who are "outside of NDA", had also backed both Kovind and Naidu.
"So, it's not unusual because, apart from the TRS, we have other five parties who have extended support."
Rao asserted the TRS would remain a political "adversary" despite the issue-based support that they have extended, and the BJP has "serious conviction" of coming to power by itself in Telangana in the 2019 assembly elections.
"So, the fight will still be between the BJP and the TRS in the next elections."
"Aspiration of the national party is: no matter what, we have to form the next government in Telangana", he said, adding, the BJP wants to make Telangana the "highway for south Indian entry (to get to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and going a little up to Odisha), while Karnataka is already one for a while".
To achieve this objective, the newly created state becomes "extremely critical", Rao said.
"The BJP has a very strong opportunity to ensure victory in this particular region. The BJP considers the Congress as a dead horse."
Rao recalled the party president Amit Shah, during a visit to Telangana, had made no bones about the BJP's aspiration to come to power in the 2014-formed state.
"It (the TRS) is a family-run party. We have taken very strong position on corruption which exists in this government," he said.