Party leadership got wind of the duo’s plans the moment they set the May 30 deadline for ‘T’
No effort whatsoever was made by the Congress party’s State or central leadership to dissuade the two MPs from Telangana -- G. Vivekanand and Manda Jagannatham -- from joining the TRS.
The only token attempt made on Thursday was when Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s supporter and Medchal MLA K. Laxma Reddy visited the residence of Dr. Vivekanand to appeal to him not to quit. Reaction to the defection too was low key with BC Welfare Minister Basavaraj Saraiah being the only one to comment. He said their quitting smacked of opportunism.
Ever since the MPs had set May 30 deadline, the Congress leadership had realised that they would leave the party sooner or later, as their main concern appeared to be to retain their seats. It matched with TRS’ search for winnable candidates.
Congress leaders point out that major political parties are short of strong candidates in the Peddapalli and Nagarkurnool constituencies. Lack of strong leaders from other parties came as a boon for Dr. Vivekanand and Dr. Jagannatham. Grabbing the opportunity and eagerness to cash in on the Telangana sentiment, the MPs decided to join the TRS. In the case of Warangal MP S. Rajaiah, however lack of clear assurance on his seat prompted him to drop plans to join the TRS.
Congress seniors say that the central leadership had in one way or the other managed to prevent mass migration of MPs into the TRS. Initially, as many as 12 MPs were very vocal about the Telangana issue but the strength gradually came down to seven after Balram Naik and Sarvey Satyanarayana were made Union Ministers. Further, two hardcore statehood protagonists – Madhu Yaskhi and Ponnam Prabhakar – made it clear that they would stay back in the Congress.
Two others – Gutta Sukhender Reddy and Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy – after initial support for the statehood issue, are said to be weighing the option of joining the YSR Congress as they feel that the statehood sentiment would not have any impact in the Nalgonda and Bhongir parliamentary segments.