Differences within the BJP’s Telangana unit over inducting casino organizer Chikoti Praveen into the party have come to the fore. After reaching BJP state headquarters in a procession with his supporters on Tuesday evening, he had to return disappointed as state BJP president and union minister G. Kishan Reddy and other senior leaders were not present.
Several corporators of the BJP in Greater Hyderabad are said to be opposing the entry of Chikoti Praveen into the party. Some have even warned the party leadership that they would resign en masse if he was taken into the party.
According to BJP sources, Kishan Reddy is also not in favor of admitting the controversial figure into the party. However, party MP and former state BJP president Bandi Sanjay Kumar and his supporters are said to be putting pressure on the leadership to take Praveen into the party as his hardcore Hindutva will help the party.
Praveen is reportedly keen to contest the coming Assembly elections on a BJP ticket from the LB Nagar constituency in Greater Hyderabad. When Chikoti Praveen faced embarrassment after reaching the BJP office, a party spokesman clarified that his joining into BJP was delayed due to some communication gap.
Kishan Reddy and other leaders were busy with the planned protest at Indira Park in Hyderabad over the problems of the unemployed and hence were not available at the party office, the spokesman clarified.
Praveen too said that there was some communication gap. He said he would join the BJP in a program that will be decided after consultation with senior leaders. Praveen has been a controversial figure. He was booked by the Gajwel police in July for taking out a rally in violation of prohibitory orders after communal clashes in the town.
The same month he was booked by police in Hyderabad for employing private security guards with illegal weapons during his visit to a temple in the old city during the Bonalu festival. A few months ago, he, along with several others, was caught in Thailand during a raid on a casino. He later clarified that he had just gone to the hotel on an invitation, and he was not aware of the gambling there.
Last year, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at houses, farmhouses, and other premises belonging to Praveen Chikoti and Madhav Reddy. They had allegedly taken some celebrities to Nepal for a casino.
Popular as ‘PC’ in gambling circles, Chikoti Praveen is known for its flamboyant lifestyle. He displays this lifestyle on social media handles. He posted a video of taking his favorite pet python for a drive on his Range Rover car.
Praveen was arrested by Hyderabad police in 2007 during a raid on a star hotel. He was arrested along with 40 others for organizing gaming with punters.
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