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Telangana Congress gets boost ahead of LS polls

Ruling Congress party in Telangana received a boost ahead of Lok Sabha elections with five leaders of main opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) including a former mayor of Hyderabad and chairperson of Vikarabad Zilla Parishad joining its ranks on Friday.

Vikarabad Zilla Parishad chairperson P. Suneetha Mahender Reddy, former mayor Bonthu Rammohan and his wife and corporator Bonthu Sridevi joined Congress party in the presence of AICC in-charge Deepadas Munshi.

Kancharla Chandarsekhar Reddy and Banoth Ramana Naik also switched loyalties to the ruling party. They all called on Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy. Suneetha Reddy was accompanied by her husband and former minister P. Mahender Reddy, who is also likely to join the Congress party.

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Their joining is likely to strengthen the Congress party in Greater Hyderabad and surroundings as it drew a blank in the region in the recent Assembly elections. With Lok Sabha elections a few weeks away, some more BRS leaders are planning to switch loyalties to the ruling party to get tickets.

Political analysts say the situation is a repeat of 2014 when TRS (now BRS) had lured several leaders from Congress and TDP from Hyderabad and surrounding districts into its fold as the party had not done well in the Assembly polls in state capital and adjoining constituencies.

Earlier, Suneetha Reddy sent her resignation letter to BRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao. On February 8, Mahender Reddy and Suneetha Reddy had met Chief Minister Revanth Reddy.

Mahender Reddy is also likely to join the Congress party soon. He is said to be an aspirant for Congress ticket from Chevella Lok Sabha constituency. Mahender Reddy was made minister by then Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao in August last year, just three months before Assembly elections.

His induction was an attempt by the BRS to pacify him as he was expecting a party ticket to contest the coming Assembly elections from Tandur constituency.

The BRS leadership had also ensured a patch-up between Mahender Reddy and then Tandur MLA Rohit Reddy. A cold war was going on between them ever since Rohit Reddy defected to BRS a few months after he was elected from Tandur as a Congress candidate in 2018.

Mahender Reddy had also served as a minister between 2014 and 2018 in the first BRS government. Mahender Reddy was with TDP before joining BRS. He was elected as an MLA from Tandur in 1994, 1998 and 2009 on TDP ticket. He joined BRS before 2014 elections and was elected from Tandur. However, he lost the election in 2018 to Congress nominee Rohit Reddy.

In 2019, BRS made him a member of the Legislative Council. He was re-elected to Council from the local body authorities constituency in 2021. Bonthu Rammohan had also met Revanth Reddy on February 11. He is expecting a ticket from Malkajgiri Lok Sabha constituency in the forthcoming elections.

In 2019, Revanth Reddy was elected to Lok Sabha from Malkajgiri. Rammohan’s meeting with Revanth Reddy came a couple of days after BRS corporator and former deputy mayor Baba Fasihuddin joined the Congress party.

Rammohan and Fasihuddin were mayor and deputy mayor respectively from 2016 to 2021. BRS leader Kancharla Chandarsekhar Reddy, who joined the Congress party, is father-in-law of actor Allu Arjun.

Chandrasekhar Reddy was an aspirant for ticket from Nagarjuna Sagar Assembly constituency in the recent Assembly elections. After denial of ticket by BRS leadership, he had been staying away from party activities.

Former MLA and former mayor of Greater Hyderabad Teegala Krishna Reddy and his daughter-in-law Anitha Reddy, who is Zilla Parishad chairperson of Rangareddy district, are also likely to quit BRS and join Congress party.

Krishna Reddy and Anitha Reddy reportedly had a meeting with Revanth Reddy in July last year, a few months before Assembly elections after indications that BRS will not give him a ticket to contest Maheshwaram constituency. However, they did not join the Congress party.

Krishna Reddy was unhappy after BRS leadership decided to field former minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy from Maheshwaram. She had contested against Krishna Reddy as Congress candidate in 2018 elections but switched loyalties to TRS (now BRS) along with some other Congress leaders in 2019. Chief Minister KCR rewarded her with a Cabinet berth.

Krishna Reddy, who began his political journey with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), had served as mayor of Greater Hyderabad from 2002 to 2007. He was also chairman of Hyderabad Urban Development Authority (HUDA).

When Maheshwaram constituency was created in 2009, he contested as TDP candidate but lost to Sabitha Indra Reddy. In 2014, he was elected from the same constituency, defeating Malreddy Ranga Reddy of the Congress party. However, a few months after the polls, he crossed over to TRS along with three other TDP MLAs.

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