Cracking whip against those indulging in the anti-party activities, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leadership has suspended former Minister Jupally Krishna Rao and former MP Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy. More such action is expected to follow in the next few months as the State moves closer to face the Assembly elections.
Although the disciplinary action against the two leaders discontented with the party leadership was expected for long as they have been vocal against the party and exploring the opportunities in other parties, the leadership has taken the inevitable call after the attempts to pacify them, particularly Mr. Krishna Rao, have failed to break the ice.
Mr. Krishna Rao, who was associated with the Congress party for long, joined BRS (TRS) before the 2014 Assembly elections and retained his seat from Kollapur and was made a Minister during 2014-18 period. He, however, lost the 2018 election to the Congress rival Beeram Harshavardhan Reddy. Mr. Krishna Rao’s discontent has taken roots with Mr. Reddy switching loyalties to BRS in March 2019.
Fight for supremacy
Ever since, the ruling party has been simmering with difference in the Kollapur Constituency with Mr. Rao and Mr. Reddy fighting for supremacy over the party affairs. The infighting shoot up so much that Mr. Rao fielded his candidates in the municipal elections against the official nominees of BRS picked up on the recommendation of Mr. Reddy and the results denied a clear win to BRS, although the victorious rebels supported the party hold on to the civic body.
Working president of BRS K.T. Rama Rao too intervened the matter of infighting twice and tried to pacify Mr. Krishna Rao, but in vain. Mr. Krishna Rao is likely to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is scouting for leaders with mass base in many constituencies as the BJP leaders have already established contact with the former Minister.
On the other hand, former MP from Khammam Mr. Srinivasa Reddy, who won the 2014 election on the YSR Congress Party ticket and switched to BRS later, was denied BRS ticket for the 2019 Parliamentary election at the eleventh hour as the leadership picked up Nama Nageswara Rao, who eventually won the election.
Mr. Srinivasa Reddy has been seething in anger ever since he was denied ticket to contest the 2019 election and for the last couple of years he has been engaged in building up his ranks by holding meetings with his supporters and make harsh statements against the party leadership. Unlike in the case of Mr. Krishna Rao, the party leadership ignored the former Khammam MP allowing to look out for alternative options. He has been in touch with both YSR Telangana Party and BJP in the recent months.
Justifying the party leadership’s action against a senior BRS leader said: “There’s need to draw the line somewhere as bickering beyond a level is not good for the party, particularly ahead of Assembly and Parliament elections”. More such disciplinary moves are expected in the coming months, particularly in the constituencies where the Congress and BJP have won.