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Ahead of Telangana polls, 2 disgruntled senior TRS leaders make beeline for Congress

Ahead of Telangana polls, two senior TRS leaders -- former legislator T Narsa Reddy and member of legislative council S Ramulu Naik – joined the Congress party in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

Telangana elections 2018 Updated: Nov 02, 2018 12:24 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana Election 2018,Telangana Polls 2018,Telangana Election 2018 News
Two senior TRS leaders -- former legislator T Narsa Reddy and member of legislative council S Ramulu Naik – joined the Congress party in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. (Reuters File Photo)

Less than six weeks before assembly polls in Telangana, disgruntled leaders of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) have started making a beeline for the Congress party citing alleged high-handedness of the party’s founder and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao (KCR).

On Saturday, two senior TRS leaders -- former legislator T Narsa Reddy and member of legislative council S Ramulu Naik – joined the Congress party in the presence of party president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. The Congress is yet to finalise its candidates for the elections.

Narsa Reddy represented Gajwel assembly constituency in Siddipet district as a Congressman between 2009 and 2014 before he was defeated by KCR in 2014. He later joined the TRS and was made chairman of the Telangana State Road Development Corporation (TSRDC).

He was expecting a ticket this time, but was instead promised an MLC seat by KCR. However, after being denied even the MLC seat, Narsa Reddy decided to return to the Congress, which promised him a ticket to contest from Narayankhed in Medak district.

Similarly, Ramulu Naik, who had been associated with the TRS since its inception in 2001 and was made MLC last year, was suspended from the party for his alleged anti-party activities.

Both Reddy and Naik told the media in Delhi that they were forced to join the Congress party, as they had not got the due respect in the TRS. “KCR is inaccessible even to the MLAs and senior party leaders. There is no benefit to the people of Telangana from the TRS government. It has benefitted only KCR’s family,” Naik said.

But the biggest defection from the TRS to the Congress was that of Rajya Sabha member D Srinivas, who also met Rahul Gandhi and expressed his willingness to join the party. He, however, did not officially take the Congress membership, possibly because it might result in his disqualification from Rajya Sabha.

“I sought an appointment with Rahul and got it today. I discussed many things with him,” Srinivas said, without commenting on whether he had joined the Congress or not.

The MP, who had been twice the president of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee and played a crucial role in the Congress party taking a decision on bifurcation of combined Andhra Pradesh, joined the TRS after 2014 elections. He was nominated to Rajya Sabha and was made an advisor to the state government.

However, the TRS leadership had kept him away from the party activities, after his younger son D Aravind joined the BJP and is being projected to contest against KCR’s daughter Kalvakuntla Kavitha from Nizamabad parliamentary seat in 2019 elections. Subsequently, Kavitha and her followers made a representation to her father seeking disciplinary action against Srinivas.

The Congress leadership is also seriously trying to rope prominent OBC leader and former MLA R Krishnaiah into the party. Krishnaiah, who heads OBC Welfare Association, was also supposed to leave for Delhi to meet the Congress president on Saturday, but he stayed back in Hyderabad. “He is likely to join the Congress party once he gets clarity on his assembly seat,” a party leader said.

Unconfirmed reports said two other senior TRS leaders – Karimnagar Zilla Parishad chairperson Tula Uma and ex-MLA Bodige Shoba – are also planning to quit the TRS and join the Congress.

The TRS had 90 members in the 119-member House and the Congress had 13 MLAs when the assembly was dissolved last month.

First Published: Oct 27, 2018 15:19 IST