Hyderabad: The Congress in Telangana, reeling after the defection of its 12 legislators to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti, was under a new onslaught from the BJP as the party stepped up its efforts to woo important leaders of the Reddy community.
Reddys, who traditionally formed the backbone of the Congress, found themselves ignored under the TRS rule dominated by the Velama caste.
The first indication that the BJP’s efforts were making headway came when one of the six remaining Congress MLAs, Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy, hinted at the possibility of his joining the saffron party.
Rajagopal Reddy has created a stir by lashing out and declaring that Congress had no future in the state. The MLA from Munugode said that there was no chance of Congress coming to power in the state even in 2024 as it was fast losing ground and the BJP was emerging an alternative to the Congress.
Praising the Indian Prime Minister, he said, “a strong leader like Narendra Modi was required to fight the family rule of K Chandrasekhar Rao”.
Rajagopal Reddy is the brother of Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, who was recently elected to the Lok Sabha on the Congress ticket. Both the Reddy brothers are strong leaders in the Nalgonda district where the TRS was not fully successful in eroding the Congress base.
While Rajagopal Reddy was looking towards the BJP, his brother Venkat Reddy has declared his intent to remain in Congress and work to revive the party.
Observers say that there were many factors at work behind Rajagopal Reddy’s clear tilt towards the BJP. Firstly, he had bitter differences with the state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who also belongs to the Nalgonda district. Secondly, those who know Rajagopal Reddy say he was a businessman who was finding it difficult to survive without political patronage.
Rajagopal Reddy was a Member of the Lok Sabha of Congress during UPA II.
If Rajagopal Reddy finally joins the BJP, Congress will be left with only five MLAs — its floor leader Bhatti Vikramarka, D Sreedhar Babu, Setthakka, P Veeraiah and T Jayprakash Reddy. Jayprakash Reddy’s name was also doing the rounds as another possible defector to the TRS.
Rajagopal Reddy’s joining will be another crucial success for BJP’s plan to expand and strengthen itself to press ahead with its goal of capturing power in Telangana in 2023 elections.
The BJP was already elated over winning four Lok Sabha seats in the state — Secunderabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad — and in the process increasing its vote share to 19 per cent.