Congress MP A Revanth Reddy’s role as the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president has come under intense scrutiny with a revolt breaking out against his leadership in the state Congress.
Barely three days after the resignation of Munugode MLA Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy from the Congress, the All India Congress Committee (AICC)’s spokesperson Dr Dasoju Sravan announced his decision to quit the party Friday night. He also blamed Revanth Reddy for his exit from the grand old party which has been lurching from one crisis to another in Telangana ahead of the state Assembly elections due next year.
Raj Gopal Reddy’s elder brother Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, a senior Congress leader and Bhuvanagiri MP, has also started expressing his resentment against Revanth Reddy and may quit the party soon.
The rebellion had been brewing in the Telangana Congress long before Raj Gopal Reddy declared his resignation. Sources in the TPCC said that virtually all the Congress leaders had separately appealed to senior AICC leaders to intervene and “rein in” Revanth Reddy. “Except for Digvijaya Singh who tried to talk to Raj Gopal Reddy to persuade him against resigning, no one made any effort or reached out to TPCC leaders. Senior Congress leaders are busy in New Delhi with organising protests over the Enforcement Directorate questioning of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi,’’ a TPCC leader said.
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With Raj Gopal Reddy’s exit, the Congress’s tally in the Telangana Assembly has dipped to 5 now. In the 2018 elections to the 119-member state Assembly, the Congress had won 19 seats as against the ruling K Chandrashekar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS)’s 88, but its 13 MLAs had subsequently defected to the latter.
Declaring his decision to leave the Congress, Dr Sravan said he felt “suffocated” in the TPCC with Revanth Reddy at the helm. “His (Revanth Reddy) style of functioning is not conducive with Congress party. He promotes himself and does not take others along with him. He is also not following the principles and ideals of Congress. There is no space for others beside him,’’ he charged.
Raj Gopal Reddy also made similar accusations against Revanth Reddy while quitting the party. Dr Sravan, Raj Gopal Reddy, and Venkat Reddy have alleged that “outsiders” joining the party were being “promoted” and “given preference over and above loyal Congress members” who have been with the party for decades. A former TDP leader, Revanth Reddy, the MP from Malkajgiri constituency, has always been targeted by a section of the Telangana Congress for being an “outsider”.
On Friday, many Telangana Congress leaders were livid when the Telangana Inti Party founder-president, Cheruku Sudhakar, was inducted into the party in the presence of Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, in New Delhi. “Sudhakar made a lot of efforts during previous elections to defeat Congress candidates. Now, he has joined the party and has merged his party with Congress. He will likely get a ticket to contest against Raj Gopal Reddy in Munugode. Sudhakar has been brought into the party by Revanth Reddy to sideline loyal Congress leaders,’’ Komatireddy Venkat Reddy charged.
A large section of the TPCC leaders have maintained that Revanth Reddy’s style of functioning is allegedly “autocratic” and that he takes decisions without consulting other leaders. They have often urged the AICC leadership to replace him as the TPCC chief. Some of them even found fault with Revanth Reddy when he called Raj Gopal Reddy a “traitor” for quitting the party. “Raj Gopal Reddy had been a loyal Congressman for decades, calling him a traitor for leaving the party has not gone down well within the Congress,’’ a TPCC leader said.
Countering Revanth’s attack on his brother, Venkat Reddy said that the TPCC chief was destroying the party. “By calling Raj Gopal Reddy names, Revanth has targeted our family. Congress leaders are fed up with him and we are done with him,’’ he said.
Revanth then tried to do some damage control and talked to Venkat but the latter told him bluntly that “all Congress leaders think it is time for him to quit as TPCC chief”, source said.
On his part, Revanth Reddy has maintained that he has been trying to strengthen the Congress party’s base in the state while following the AICC leadership’s instructions. “On crucial issues we talk with each other and take collective decisions,’’ he said when asked about party leaders’ complaints against his style of functioning.
Sources said that senior state party leaders like ex-TPCC chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy and M Bhatti Vikramarka have remained non-committal as the state party unit unravels.