In a setback to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), its outgoing MP A.P. Jithender Reddy on Wednesday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after he was denied ticket for next month's elections.
Jithender Reddy, who was leader of the TRS in Lok Sabha, formally joined the BJP in the presence of party President Amit Shah in New Delhi. It was a homecoming for Jithender Reddy, who was elected to Lok Sabha from Mahabubnagar on the BJP ticket in 1999. He later quit the BJP to join the TRS at the peak of Telangana movement.
In 2014, he was elected from the same constituency as a TRS candidate.
The TRS dropped him following allegations by some party candidates in the recent Assembly elections he did not extend the cooperation.
This is the second big leader to join the BJP in the state as last week, former minister D K Aruna was inducted into the party in the presence of BJP chief Amit Shah, National General Secretary Ram Madhav, Union Minister JP Nadda and others in New Delhi. She was later given the Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha ticket.
DK Aruna, a firebrand leader is a three-time MLA from Gadwal. She was a minister during YS Rajasekhar Reddy's term and went on to hold several portfolios in Rosaiah's cabinet. Aruna later served as Information Minister in Kiran Kumar Reddy's government.
Meanwhile, other senior leaders who are contesting, include BJPâ€™s Kishen Reddy, who is contesting from Secunderabad constituency, a seat held by former minister Bandaru Dattatreya. D Aravind, the younger son of former TRS MP D Srinivas, will be foraying in the elections against Kalvakuntla Kavitha, sitting MP of Nizamabad.
Polling for 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana is scheduled in the first phase on April 11. In the last elections, the BJP had been reduced to winning just one of the 17 seats.