As his old rival’s daughter gets more prominence in the TDP, an unhappy Silpa Mohan Reddy decided to seek his fortunes elsewhere.

Uncomfortable with a young womans rise in the party senior TDP leader switches to YSRCPFacebook
news Politics Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 18:53

The politics in Kurnool seems to have taken a curious turn. A former Minister and a prominent fact of the Telugu Desam Party, Silpa Mohan Reddy, went over to the YSR Congress Party on Wednesday. The high profile defection took place in the presence of Jagan Mohan Reddy, and has now exposed a rift within the TDP.

At the centre of it all is Bhuma Akhila Priya - daughter of late politician Bhuma Nagireddy, and currently, the youngest Minister in the Chandrababu Naidu Cabinet.

Bhuma Nagireddy vs Silpa Mohan Reddy

To understand the current political situation in Kurnool, we have to go back to 2014, when Bhuma Nagireddy, then a YSRCP leader, defeated Silpa Mohan Reddy from the Nandyala Assembly constituency in Kurnool.

Silpa Mohan was still stinging from the defeat, when Nagireddy decided to switch over to TDP in 2016. But while both men were now on the same team, they never really saw eye to eye.

There was a semblance of peace though, until tragedy struck earlier this year.

Bhuma Nagireddy died on March 12 after he suffered a massive heart attack. With his death, the Nandyala constituency fell vacant, and Silpa Mohan was hopeful that he would get the ticket when the bye-poll was announced.

The fight for Nandyala

But a dampener for Silpa Mohan came in the form Bhuma Nagireddy’s daughter Akhila Priya. The young woman, who replaced her mother as the MLA of Allagadda constituency after the latter’s tragic death in a road crash in 2015, made a statement earlier in April this year that Nandyala was “our seat”, referring to her family’s stronghold in the area.

This did not go down too well with Silpa Mohan, since Akhila Priya is not just another MLA in the party. The youngest Minister in the Andhra Cabinet, Akhila Priya holds the Tourism and Culture Portfolio and is a favourite of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.

In fact, during the Mahanadu celebrations in May, Chandrababu Naidu praised the young Minister during a public function for her being a team player.

‘I was ignored’

Now that he has decided to defect to the YSRCP, Silpa Mohan is refusing to hold back his thoughts on the young Tourism Minister of Andhra.

Confirming reports that he left TDP for YSRCP because of Akhila Priya, Silpa Mohan told media persons that he was feeling ignored in the party.

"I did not oppose TDP though they gave a Ministerial berth to Akhila Priya, and I cooperated with the party. But now, they’re ignoring me,” Silpa Mohan said in Hyderabad on Wednesday, minutes after he officially joined YSRCP.

The senior leader also claimed that while he had taken up several developmental issues with both Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and Tourism Minister Akhila Priya, his concerns were ignored by the both of them. 

The future in YSRCP

The former Minister also hinted that the Chief Minister was not keen on giving him a ticket for the yet-to-be-announced Nandyala bye-poll.

“When I ask about the bye-election ticket, he (Chandrababu Naidu) talks about 2019,” Silpa Mohan said.   

But Jagan, he hinted, would give him the ticket for the constituency. “I will work under Jagan’s leadership in the bye-election. His words are final to me, and the party will decide the right person for the post,” Silpa said.

“No loss,” claims TDP

Silpa Mohan has taken several people from the TDP to the YSRCP with him; Nandyala municipal chairperson Sulochana, Markfed state deputy president PP Nagireddy, at least 21 councillors, Zilla Parishad and Mandal Parishad members, and several sarpanches have followed in Silpa Mohan’s footsteps.

However, the TDP is confident that this will not affect their party.

Speaking to TNM on the political development, district TDP president Venkateshwarlu Somishetty said, “Silpa Mohan took with him whoever came into the party with him.” Venkateshwarlu was referring to Silpa’s past as a Congress leader, before he joined the TDP in 2014.

“This won’t affect the party much,” the TDP leader said.

Responding to Silpa Mohan’s allegations that he was ignored in official programmes by party seniors and especially Akhila Priya, Venkateshwarlu said, “The party cannot interfere in government programmes. The collectors just follow the protocol.”

Venkateshwarlu also defended Akhila Priya, and said that she was doing everything as per protocol. “Though it’s just been three months since she took over as a Minister, she is showing a lot of maturity,” he said.

He further accused Silpa Mohan of only trying to meet the Chief Minister to discuss posts and seats, and failing to focus on developmental issues.