A depleted Telangana Congress may see another MLA move to TRS

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An already thinned out Congress in Telangana - after 12 of its MLAs broke away from the party and merged with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in 2019 - may suffer further blow as its Bhadrachalam MLA Podem Veeraiah allegedly upset over infighting in the party may join ranks with the TRS.

The Congress had won 19 out of 119 assembly seats in the state in December 2018 elections, but was reduced to just six seats after a big chunk of its MLA moved over to KCR’s party.

While Congress’ Veeraiah could not be reached for comment, a senior Congress leader familiar with the development said the tribal MLA has become inaccessible to the state party leaders for the last few days.

“We are aware that the TRS leadership has been trying to lure Veeraiah into the party because he holds considerable influence in the tribal areas of Khammam district. So, there is no surprise if he has any plans to move into the TRS,” the Congress leader said.

If Veeraiah jumps changes track and joins the TRS, the Congress would be left with just five MLAs: Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, D Anasuya alias Seethakka, D Sridhar Babu, T Jayaprakash Reddy and K Rajagopal Reddy. Out of those, Rajagopal Reddy is also looking towards the Bharatiya Janata Party and made statements in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi many times.

On Thursday, some senior Telangana Congress leaders, who met at the residence of a former Rajya Sabha member, expressed concern over the lack of unity among the party leaders, mainly due to the alleged unilateral decisions taken by PCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy.

The ex-MP asked AICC general secretary in-charge of Telangana affairs R C Khuntia to immediately call for a meeting of the core committee to thrash out all the differences within the party and activate the party cadre.

“It is because of the attitude of the PCC leadership that some leaders are leaving the party. It is time the core committee calls for an emergency meeting and sort things out, before they go further out of hand,” he said.

The last time the core committee of the PCC, headed by Khuntia, had met was in November 2019 after the defeat of PCC chief’s wife N Padmavathi Reddy in the by-elections to Huzurnagar with a huge margin of over 43,000 votes. Following his wife’s defeat Uttam Kumar Reddy offered to step down as PCC chief.

Around the same time, the party high command sent a team of observers comprising AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Karnataka minister H K Patil to collect the opinions of all the party leaders on choosing a suitable candidate for the PCC chief post.

The team held a series of meetings with party leaders who called for a dynamic team at the PCC and a complete overhaul of the party.

“But there was no consensus on the candidate for PCC chief and after that, there was no information whatsoever from Delhi. The party continues to be in a state of limbo,” the Congress leader quoted above said.

The attempts of PCC working president and Malkajgiri MP A Revanth Reddy to project himself as a potential candidate for the PCC chief post were thwarted by seniors like former MP V Hanumantha Rao, former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy and Sangareddy MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy.

Jayaprakash Reddy went to the extent of threatening that he would have to choose his own path if Revanth Reddy is made the PCC chief.

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