After 12 Congress MLAs in Telangana join TRS, 13th lawmaker heads for BJP
The defections from the beleaguered Congress in Telangana, which had hitherto been confined to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), have now shifted to Bharatiya Janata Party which has gained ground in the state following an impressive performance in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
While 12 out of 18 Congress MLAs have already joined the TRS, yet another MLA – Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, representing Munugode assembly constituency in Nalgonda district, decided to switch over to the BJP.
If he formally quits the party, the strength of the Congress in the 119-member state assembly, will come down to five. The BJP currently has just a lone member in the assembly.
On Monday, Reddy left for New Delhi to meet BJP top bosses and formally join the party. He already declared to the local reporters in his constituency on Saturday that the Congress had no future in Telangana and BJP was the only party which could emerge as a potential alternative to the TRS.
The MLA went on to praise the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying that he had provided a strong leadership to the country and taken revolutionary decisions. On the other hand, the Congress leadership both in Delhi and Telangana had miserably failed to win the confidence of the people.
While Reddy was all set to join the BJP, the disciplinary committee of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee met at Gandhi Bhavan on Monday to discuss the development and recommended to the high command to sack him.
“It is unfortunate that Rajagopal Reddy, who had enjoyed several positions in the party such as MP, MLC and MLA, decided to quit the party. His family secured huge benefits from the party, yet they are not satisfied,” senior Congress leader and ex-MP V Hanumantha Rao said.
Reddy also tried to lure another Congress MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy, representing Sangareddy assembly constituency, also into the BJP, but the latter is yet to make up his mind. “It is true that Rajagopal Reddy spoke to me on Sunday, but I don’t want to divulge what we discussed. I will request the high command to make me the PCC working president. I will take a call depending the party’s response,” Jayaprakash Reddy said.
Rajagopal Reddy’s elder brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who was recently elected as Congress MP from Bhongir parliamentary constituency, brushed aside the talk that he would also join the BJP. But, he is strongly lobbying for the PCC chief post and if he does not get it, he may also follow his younger brother, a PCC leader familiar with the development said.
Meanwhile, taking advantage of the precarious situation the Congress is in, the BJP leadership is planning to lure as many senior leaders as possible into the party. Apart from Venkat Reddy, the BJP is also sending overtures to PCC working president A Revanth Reddy, who was elected from Malkajgiri parliamentary constituency last month.
“The BJP’s strategy seems to be attracting the Reddy community, which is waiting for an opportunity to dislodge the TRS, which is dominated by Velama community. It is evident from the way the BJP has made G Kishan Reddy as Union minister of state for home and is laying bait for leaders like Komatireddy brothers, Revanth Reddy and Jayaprakash Reddy,” senior journalist and political analyst S Ramakrishna said.
Besides the Congress leaders, disgruntled leaders from other parties like former minister E Peddi Reddy from TDP and former MP G Vivek, who recently quit the TRS, are also all set to join the BJP.
“There is a clear political vacuum in Telangana due to weakening of the Congress. The BJP is going all out to fill this vacuum,” Ramakrishna added.