The political landscape in poll bound Telangana is witnessing major shifts as the richest Member of Parliament from the state, Konda Vishweshwar Reddy met Congress Chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. This came a day after his resignation from K Chandrasekhar Rao's (KCR) Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The MP from Chevella constituency in Ranga Reddy district of the state, was accompanied by RC Kuntia, Telangana Congress affairs in-charge and several other Congress leaders.
On Tuesday, Vishweshwar Reddy had written a letter to KCR expressing his disappointment over the way the party had been functioning. Claiming that he would resign as MP soon, Vishweshwar Reddy said that his decision to quit the party was propelled by various considerations.
After his meeting with Rahul Gandhi, Konda Vishweshwar Reddy announced that he would be joining the Congress officially on November 23 during Sonia and Rahul Gandhi's visit to the state.
Addressing the media, RC Kuntia said that Rahul Gandhi was happy to welcome Konda Vishweshwar Reddy into the Congress given his track record as an MP. The party was also proud of Konda Vishweshwar Reddy's family's historic loyalty to the Congress, Kuntia added. Konda Vishweshwar Reddy is the grand son of former Andhra Deputy Chief Minister Konda Venkata Rangareddy. The district of Ranga Reddy, formerly known as Hyderabad Rural was renamed after this Congress man.
"The party has inducted people who were against Telangana and our ideology into the cabinet and given them more power and prominence. I feel people who were fighting for Telangana and share a common ideology, including me, are no longer needed in the party. A separate Telangana was the aspiration of the people and a noble cause, as the people felt that the injustice meted out to them in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh would end...You had asked me to join the TRS party in 2013. Acknowledging your leadership role in the history of the struggle, I did join the party. KT Rama Rao visited me many times and showed me the vision of a people-centric, ideology-based party...and hence, I joined with hope and enthusiasm," Konda said in his open letter.
An engineer-turned-entrepreneur, Vishweshwar Reddy is one of the richest politicians in the state and as per his affidavit filed in 2014, he owned movable assets worth Rs 171,72,69,324 and his immovable assets worth Rs 37,66,97,400. However, the total figure in his affidavit including his spouse and three dependents that he had declared, were Rs 478,90,70,310 and Rs 49,15,34,900 bringing his total net assets Rs 528,06,05,210. He had joined the TRS in 2013.
Kuntia dropped hints that more sitting MPs and MLAs are likely to leave the TRS and join Congress party ahead of the elections. He said, "Konda Reddy coming back into the fold is just the beginning, not the end. More legislators and MPs will join the Congress." Kuntia also took a dig at TRS and AIMIM alliance and said, "KCR doesn't qualify to be called secular after forging an alliance with AIMIM, party that is as communal as the BJP "
Konda Vishweshwar Reddy speaking to the media said, "TRS party has taken a major ideological shift that I was unable to digest. TRS had become distant from the very people who helped the party during the bifurcation movement."
When asked about the 'ideological shift' in the TRS, he said, "We were the party that represented people, students of Osmania University, employees and unemployed youth. It is no longer so. The voter base has eroded and the shift in ideology is something I could not tolerate."
He made it clear that he would resign as a Member of Parliament as well. Answering a query on why he took the decision of leaving the party four years after getting elected, Konda Vishweshwar Reddy said that he had been fighting staying within the party, but in all likelihood TRS was on the way to becoming more undemocratic .
The speculation is that Konda Vishweshwar Reddy will be the Congress candidate in upcoming Lok Sabha election.