BJP president Amit Shah has called for a BJP government with full majority in Telangana in 2019 elections so that the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi could be further strengthened. Shah addressed a massive rally in Warangal on Saturday, marking the liberation of erstwhile Hyderabad State from the Nizams by the Indian military on 17 September 1948. 17 September has become an issue for the BJP as Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) has refused to celebrate it officially on the ground that it might hurt the sentiments of Muslims in the state. TRS ally, Asaduddin Owaisi’s Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) is opposed to any glorification of 17 September. “KCR has become the CM not because of MIM chief Owaisi, but because of the vast majority of people of Telangana. Then why is KCR afraid of Owaisi?” asked Shah, amid applause. The BJP president also issued clear directions to his party leaders in recent meetings that the party should occupy the political space vacated by other Opposition parties, such as the TDP, YSR Congress and Congress. 21 MLAs and 3 MPs from these parties defected to TRS in the last 27 months. Though Congress is supposed to be the main challenger to TRS, it lacks the strength to take on the ruling party due to defections and loss of energy. Shah told his party leaders to occupy the ground lost by the Congress. Shah gave a long list of Centrally aided government schemes and asked the public whether they were reaching them in Telangana. The crowd shouted “no”. Shah accused KCR and his family of not providing proper governance. Shah’s is also aiming to enhance the bargaining power of the party in case TRS wants to join the NDA later.