Former AP minister Suryaprakash to quit Congress and join TDP
In a major blow to the Congress party ahead of the state Assembly elections, former Andhra Pradesh Union Minister Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy is likely to join the Telugu Desam Party, ending days of speculation, according to reports.
Suryaprakash was reportedly displeased with the party's decision to head to the polls without an alliance, unlike in Telangana. Last week, the Andhra Congress party in-charge Oommen Chandy had announced that they would contest alone in all the 175 Assembly seats and 25 Lok Sabha seats. Reportedly, the former minister from Kurnool had sought an appointment with TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Monday evening, and he is likely to formally join the party along with his supporters next week.
Speculations of Suryaprakash quitting the Congress party began after he cancelled a scheduled meeting with his supporters in Kurnool on Friday. However, when questioned by media, he maintained that he was loyal to Congress and claimed that it was ‘propaganda’ spread by his rivals. It was also speculated that the minister would join the YSRCP as his brother, Kotla Harshavardhan had announced that he would be joining the YSRCP.
Suryaprakash served as the railway minister under the UPA II. He lost the Kurnool MP seat in the previous Lok Sabha elections. In fact the Congress party was badly defeated in the 2014 elections in Andhra Pradesh, after the Centre under the Congress bifurcated Andhra Pradesh. Suryaprakash was hopeful that the party's fortunes would change, if they created an alliance with the TDP. However, the party was firm on their stance of going alone, leaving him no choice but to quit the party.
Meanwhile, former minister and NTR's son-in-law Daggubati Venkateswara Rao and his son Hitesh Chenchuram on Sunday met YS Jaganmohan Reddy at his residence in Hyderabad and announced their decision to join his party. Venkateshwara Rao, a known critic of his co-brother, TDP president Chandrababu Naidu, is a senior Congress leader.