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High command intervenes in row over alleged offer to defeat Congress

January 22, 2023 09:05 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:06 am IST - Bengaluru

B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan

B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan

 The Congress high command is learnt to have stepped in to douse the controversial statement made by the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president A. Revanth Reddy, who claimed that Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had tried to influence Congress leaders in Karnataka to defeat Congress in identified Assembly constituencies in the ensuing Karnataka Assembly elections.

While Mr. Reddy’s statement recently raised eyebrows in political circles here, party sources on Sunday said that the top leadership, including K.C. Venugopal and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Surjewala, have spoken to both Mr. Reddy and former Minister and MLA B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan, whose name has been dragged into the controversy. “Mr. Reddy has been asked to restrict himself to Telangana and abstain from commenting on Karnataka politics. He has been told that such comments could hurt the party prospects with elections to Assembly here a few months away,” sources said.

Mr. Reddy had claimed that the Telangana Chief Minister had called a senior Congress leader from Karnataka and offered him ₹500 crore to ensure that the Congress was defeated in 30 identified seats. The Congress leader has been identified as Mr. Khan, who on Saturday acknowledged that he had met Mr. Rao, but refuted reports that politics had been discussed.

On his part, Mr. Khan is learnt to have informed the two central leaders beside Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah and KPCC president D.K. Shivakumar that he had met the Telangana Chief Minister over a personal issue. “Mr. Khan has told party leadership that the meeting was to discuss a land deal and not politics. He has conveyed that ₹500 crore to defeat Congress candidates did not come for discussion at all.”

Both Mr. Siddaramaiah and Mr. Shivakumar have distanced themselves from Mr. Reddy’s statement already.

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