Dissent is brewing within the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh's Allagadda constituency as sitting legislator and state Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya has accused leaders within the party of working to ensure her downfall.
Speaking at a public event in the constituency earlier this week, Akhila pointed out that several TDP leaders in Kurnool district were defecting to the YSRCP, and made promises that they would defeat her in the upcoming Assembly polls in the state.
â€śEveryone is uniting to defeat me here in Allagadda, including those who lost in Nandyal. I am telling them to do good work and defeat me because if I get re-elected, I'm not going to spare anyone,â€ť Akhila said, amid cheers from the crowd.
â€śIt is not that I'm going to foist false cases as you all did. We will work hard and make people forget you and the work you did," she added.
Akhilaâ€™s comments come just days after former TDPâ€™s in-charge of Allagadda constituency, Erigela Rampulla Reddy, quit the ruling party and speculation is rife that he may defect to the YSRCP.
â€śThe party in Allagadda has become an empire of corruption. The TDP, started by former Chief Minister N T Rama Rao, used to work for the weaker sections of society, but now that party has been killed. I'm not able to work under the corrupt (Bhuma) family. If we work with such corrupt Ministers, there is no scope of getting respect from the people in villages,â€ť Erigela Rampulla Reddy told reporters when he quit the party.
No stranger to controversy
This is not the first time that 31-year-old Bhuma Akhila is in the news for spats with senior leaders in the party. Akhila, the daughter of late Nandyal MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy, is also the youngest member in Chief Minister Chandrababu Naiduâ€™s cabinet. The Bhuma family wields a lot of influence in Kurnool district â€“ especially in the Assembly constituencies of Allagadda and Nandyal.
In April this year, Akhila was embroiled in a bitter fight with AV Subba Reddy â€” a leader who was considered her fatherâ€™s right-hand man â€” after distancing herself from him and allegedly focusing on ensuring that her family continues to hold powerful positions in Kurnool district. She also reportedly snubbed Subba Reddy by not inviting him to her fatherâ€™s death anniversary in March.
Akhila entered politics and became the Allagadda MLA following the sudden demise of her mother, Shoba Nagi Reddy, in a road accident in 2015. The family was with the YSRCP at that point. But in 2016, both Bhuma Nagi Reddy and Akhila switched loyalties and moved to the TDP. In March 2017, Bhuma Nagi Reddy died because of a massive heart attack.
In the Nandyal bye-elections that followed, Akhila campaigned extensively and ensured that the seat went to her cousin Bhuma Brahmananda Reddy, who got the TDP ticket. With the state gearing up for simultaneous elections for Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, Akhila is expected to play a key role in rallying up the voters in Kurnool district and especially in her bastions of Allagadda and Nandyal.