1 more Telangana Congress MLA to defect to BJP, party strength plunges to 5
In yet another jolt to the already beleaguered Congress in Telangana, party lawmaker from Nalgonda district Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy on Friday announced that he would quit the Congress and join the Bharatiya Janata Party soon.
Rajagopal Reddy, who represents the Munugode assembly constituency, told reporters in Tirumala, after having a darshan of Lord Venkateshwara that the BJP was the only alternative to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, as the Congress party had failed to put up a strong fight.
He said that he had predicted long ago about the growth of the BJP as a strong force in Telangana. “I stand by my statement and the recent results of the by-elections to the Dubbak assembly seat and the elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) proved it,” he said.
Claiming that the BJP would get further strengthened in Telangana in the coming days, Rajagopal Reddy said he might join the BJP shortly keeping in mind the interest of the people of his constituency.
If Rajagopal Reddy defects to the BJP sooner or later, the Congress will be left with just five MLAs in the 119-member state assembly. The party had won 19 seats in the assembly elections held in December 2018, but 12 of them defected to the TRS en masse.
Of the remaining seven seats, the Congress lost one more in the by-elections to Huzurnagar assembly seat held in October 2019. The seat was vacated by PCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy on his election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda parliamentary constituency in May 2019. With this, the party lost the Leader of Opposition status in the assembly.
Interestingly, Rajagopal Reddy’s elder brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy is also an MP from Bhongir parliamentary constituency and is a front-runner for the PCC chief post, following the resignation of Uttam Kumar Reddy.
“My elder brother might remain in the Congress and become the PCC chief. But I am going to join the BJP,” Rajagopal Reddy said.
In fact, soon after the last Lok Sabha elections, Rajagopal Reddy showered praises on Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “People of India have given mandate in favour of Modi for the second time, showing their confidence in his decision-making. The BJP has the strength to take some revolutionary decisions, as they have strong leadership. I highly doubt how much Congress can fight against Modi,” he said then.
The Telangana Congress party has strongly condemned Rajagopal Reddy’s statement that he would join the BJP shortly. “It is not correct on his part to desert the party when it is in crisis. As a responsible MLA of the party, it is his duty to stand by the party and strengthen it,” PCC vice-president Mallu Ravi said.
Stating that the Congress was the only party that had been fighting on the issues concerning common people, Ravi said Rajagopal Reddy, who had won the assembly elections on Congress ticket, owned the moral responsibility to work for the defeat of the TRS and the BJP.
He expressed confidence that the Congress would bounce back into power both at the Centre and the state.