BJP sets target of winning 15 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh

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The BJP has set a target of winning 15 of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in Andhra Pradesh, its state president Kanna Lakshminarayana said today, asserting that people will prefer Prime Minister Narendra Modis honest politics to corrupt Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress. The saffron party had won only two seats in 2014 and has been facing attacks from the two regional parties after the Centre rejected the demand of granting the state special category status, but Lakshminarayana said his party will do much better in the next general election. The BJPs campaign in the state, where the Assembly polls will be held with the Lok Sabha election, will pick up following August 16, a date it has tentatively fixed for laying foundation stone of its office. BJP president Amit Shah has placed Andhra Pradesh among the states where he has been working to gain seats to offset any losses his party may suffer in vast swathes of north and west India, which it had swept in 2014. Lakshminarayana, a veteran MLA with a long stint in the Congress before he joined the BJP in 2014, said the issue of special category status will not resonate with the masses as the Centre has done a lot for the state, including giving it a grant of Rs 1.55 lakh crore, allocating 25 central institutions and funding building of over 7.44 lakh houses for the poor. We will reach out to people with what all the Modi government has done for the state. We are aiming to win 15 seats and will certainly emerge as a strong force, he said. He, however, acknowledged that the issues of railway zone for the state, besides the steel plant in Kadappa, should be resolved at the earliest. Lashing out at Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, a BJP ally for four years before he severed ties over the special category status, Lakshminarayana said the state has been reeling under an unprecedented level of corruption in his rule. The state has never seen corruption at such a scale and so widespread, he said. YSR Congress chief Jagan Reddy has also been facing corruption charges and only the BJP is in a position to offer the people an honest alternative, he claimed. The TDP and the YSR Congress had won 15 and eight seats in the state in 2014, while the BJP, which fought in alliance with the Naidus party, won two. Lakshminarayana was appointed the BJP chief in May this year. The BJP has always been a marginal player in the state but has been eying gains under Shahs leadership.