Telangana Elections
Padma Rao, who was in charge of the Kukatpally constituency, was denied a ticket as the TRS picked a defector from the TDP. Breadcrumb: Telangana 2018

TRS leader Gottimukkala Padma Rao, who was in charge of the Kukatpally constituency, resigned from the party on Sunday over mistreatment of party leaders in seat selection, ideology deviation and harassment against dissenters. This is the second such exit from the TRS in a span of just one week.

Addressing his resignation to TRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, Padma Rao cited his displeasure over the party's candidate selection process for the upcoming Telangana Assembly Elections, scheduled to be held on December 7. "The party was like a home. I patiently endured, even though many people were subjected to injustice in the party. I looked forward to expecting a change in the situation. But there was no change. While there has been no change in you, the party is heading in a wrong direction,” Padma Rao wrote in his letter to the caretaker Telangana Chief Minister.

In the 2014 state elections, Padma Rao contested from the Kukatpally Assembly constituency and lost to Madhavaram Krishnarao, who was then with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). Krishnarao later shifted loyalties and joined the TRS.

When it came to candidate selection for the 2018 Assembly Elections, Padma Rao was overlooked and the Kukatpally seat was awarded to Krishnarao.

Speaking to TNM about the chances of TRS winning the Kukatpally seat, “People are disillusioned with the various schemes launched by KCR but they do not realise that these schemes have pushed the state into financial crisis. It will take the public time to understand this fact, so until they realise they will keep supporting the TRS.”

He went on to allege, “The party knows this, which is why they went for early elections. KCR’s wife wants her son, KT Rama Rao to become the Chief Minister of the state and KCR to become the deputy Prime Minister of India. I know this because I am related to the KCR family.”

Ever since elections were announced in Telangana, various opposition leaders have faced Income Tax raids on establishments owned by them. Padma Rao alleges that the party has prepared a list of opposition candidates, dissenters from within the party, and those from other parties who they are unable to buy.

“The party has a list of people who they know are dissenters and potential dissenters against the party. I got a notice for a tractor that I bought for Rs 5.6 lakh three years ago but got an Income Tax notice ten days ago to pay 10 lakhs saying I have bought a luxury vehicle. A false land dispute case was also registered against my wife and daughter, even an arrest warrant was issued against them six months back, all because I voiced my dissent with the direction of the party,” alleged Padma Rao.

Perhaps the biggest allegation being levelled by Padma Rao against KCR is during the time of Telangana state agitation.  KCR, who began his hunger strike on November 29, 2009 on the same day of K Srikanth Chary, an Osmania University student had set himself on fire, allegedly broke his fast on December 3, claims Padma Rao. He alleges that KCR first broke his fast at the hospital on the same day that Srikanth passed away. “I was there when KCR drank lime juice four days into his hunger strike,” alleges Padma Rao. He went on to claims that KCR continued his hunger strike fearing retaliation from Osmania university students.

“KCR was forced to continue his hunger strike as he feared that Osmania students would turn against him and went back to the hospital. I know this because I was there. After that Sonia Gandhi took pity on the death of Srikanth Chary and supported the state formation,” alleged the former TRS leader, who claimed that Srikanth’s mother Kasoju Shankaramma was also denied a party ticket to contest because it would create an impression that the state was created because of her son and not KCR. “The KCR family thinks far ahead and is very cunning,“ he alleged.

KCR eventually gave up his fast on December 9 after then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced that the Centre would take steps to initiate the process to create a separate Telangana state.

Member of Parliament Konda Vishweshwar Reddy also resigned from TRS and joined the Congress on November 23. He announced his decision to join the Congress after a meet with AICC president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi.

Padma Rao’s letter echoed sentiments similar to those expressed by Konda Vishweshwar Reddy in his letter to KCR. "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," Vishweshwar had written.

Ever since the TRS released the candidate list, the party has been combating dissent from party leaders who did not get tickets to contest elections. At the time of filing nominations, 16 rebels from the TRS filed their nominations, but the party managed to dissuade 10 of these rebels to withdraw their nomination.

 

Click here to follow TNM's coverage of the Telangana Assembly Elections 2018