Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday appointed Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka as the leader of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) in Telangana. He took this decision a day after CLP passed a resolution authorizing the party President to appoint the CLP leader.
Vikramarka, a leader from Scheduled Castes, was re-elected from Madhira constituency in Khammam district in December election.
Currently Working President of party's Telangana unit, 57-year-old Vikramarka will also become the leader of opposition in the state Assembly. With 19 members in 119-member Assembly, Congress is the main opposition party.
Vikramarka, who has been representing Madhira constituency since 2009, served as the Deputy Speaker of undivided Andhra Pradesh Assembly between 2011 and 2014.
The move has upset other contenders for the post including Sangareddy MLA Turupu Jayaprakash Reddy alias Jagga Reddy, who said that lobbyists who had influence in New Delhi were bagging the posts within the party, instead of those who were working on the ground in Telangana.
During the CLP meeting on Thursday, AICC observer K C Venugopal had sought opinion of the newly-elected MLAs to elect the leader. However, the meeting, which was also attended by AICC Secretary in-charge of party affairs in the state, R C Khuntia left the decision to Rahul Gandhi.
Meanwhile, Governor ESL Narasimhan will address the House on January 19. A day later, the House will introduce the motion of thanks to the Governor's address and adopt the same.
While the Congress has 19 MLAs, in a major blow to the party in Telangana last month, four out of six remaining MLCs from the party defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), after it swept the Assembly elections in the state. The four MLCs, led by Akula Lalitha (who had contested the Armoor seat on a Congress ticket) met Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and shifted their loyalties.
This has left the Congress with only two MLCs â€” Shabbir Ali and Ponguleti Sudhakar â€” whose term will end in March this year.