Telangana politics is likely to go through a huge churning with two big anti-KCR faces, Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy and Jupally Krishna Rao, set to announce their association with the Congress on June 12 and later officially join the party in the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a public meeting likely in Khammam on June 25.
The two leaders will meet Mr. Gandhi on June 21 in New Delhi when he returns to India from his United States visit. The All India Congress Committee (AICC) is directly involved in the joining of the two leaders and coordinating the entire effort though the local leadership has facilitated the talks.
Others to follow?
A senior Congress leader from Delhi revealed that 7 to 8 leaders with the stature of contesting as MLAs across Telangana will also join the party along with them. These leaders are not just the followers of Mr. Ponguleti or Mr. Krishna Rao but from other parts of the State as well.
After dilly-dallying with their decision for over two months, the two leaders who hold considerable influence in their respective districts, picked up the Congress rather than the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) despite the latter’s continuous efforts to draw them into their fold. Apparently, they see Congress strengthening rapidly at the cost of the BJP, particularly after the Karnataka election results.
Ever since their meeting with BJP MLA Eatala Rajender a couple of weeks ago failed to impress them on the prospects of the saffron party, it was a foregone conclusion that they would join the Congress but the only questions were when and how, and with what conditions.
A senior Congress leader revealed to The Hindu that the party high command had made it clear that no conditions could be set for their joining but their political interests will be given serious consideration. Whether considering their requests would mean tickets to their followers is not clear though.
Both the leaders were expelled from the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) for anti-party activities, but their followers said their intention was clear right from the beginning, and it was to force the party to take action against them as they were sidelined by the newcomers in the party while the BRS leadership also ignored them.
Mr. Krishna Rao has a point to prove after the BRS admitted his rival Harshvardhan Reddy into the party though he won on the Congress ticket ignoring Mr. Rao, who is a former Minister. Mr. Srinivas Reddy, who was elected as the Khammam MP on the YSRCP ticket defected to the BRS immediately. However, he felt insulted as he was denied the ticket in the 2019 Parliament elections while Nama Nageshwara Rao, who joined the BRS from TDP a few days before the elections, was preferred.