Casino organiser Chikoti Praveen snubbed by Telangana BJP amid bid to join party
Praveen, who faces criminal charges for organising gambling clubs and casinos in India and abroad, was planning to join the BJP on Tuesday after claiming to have approval from the state party leadership
Hyderabad-based Gambling operator and casino organiser Chikoti Praveen’s plan to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and contest the upcoming Telangana assembly elections has hit a roadblock as a section of party leaders has opposed his entry, allegedly citing his notorious background, party members familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
Praveen, who faces criminal charges for organising gambling clubs and casinos in India and abroad, was planning to join the BJP on Tuesday after claiming to have approval from the state party leadership. He had earlier met Telangana BJP president and Union minister G Kishan Reddy a day earlier and expressed his willingness to join the party.
On Tuesday evening, Praveen took out a big procession with his followers from Karmanghat temple, where he offered prayers to Lord Hanuman, to the BJP headquarters at Nampally. However, when he arrived at the party office with a lot of fanfare, none of the BJP leaders, including Kishan Reddy, was present there to welcome him.
Dejected, Praveen played it down and told reporters that it happened because there was some miscommunication between him and the senior BJP leaders.
“I was told Kishan Reddy and others had left for another programme. I will discuss this with the national-level leaders and plan a future course of action. The BJP party will win the forthcoming assembly elections in the state,” he said.
On Wednesday, he took to social media and alleged in a video message that some BJP leaders who were afraid of him were trying to block his entry into the party.
“These people who are playing dirty politics can’t do anything to me. I challenge them to stop my growth. I don’t resort to any backstabbing. You play your politics. I shall do mine,” he claimed.
A BJP leader in the state headquarters said several party corporators from the LB Nagar assembly constituency, where Praveen is planning to contest from in the upcoming elections, have strongly opposed his entry and threatened to quit their posts if he is inducted.
“BJP national general secretary and former state BJP president Bandi Sanjay wanted to bring Praveen into the party. But the national BJP leadership and party in-charge of Telangana affairs, Prakash Javadekar, also rejected his proposal,” the party leader quoted above said.
Praveen was booked by the Gajwel police in July for holding a rally in violation of prohibitory orders issued due to communal tensions. He took out a procession to pay tribute to Maratha ruler Shivaji after a man had allegedly vandalised his statue.
In May this year, Praveen was caught in Thailand along with several others during a raid at a casino. He was later deported to India. Praveen later clarified that he had just gone to the hotel on an invitation and was not aware of the gambling there.
Earlier, the Chatrinaka police in Hyderabad had booked him during Bonalu in July 2023 for employing private security guards with illegal weapons. Shortly after the case was filed, he obtained bail from the court.