Ahead of the Assembly elections, which will likely be held in December, swift political developments are taking place in the state. The first step in this process is former MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy quitting the BRS and joining the BJP and the BRS holding a huge meeting in Khammam.
Reddy represented the Khammam Lok Sabha constituency in 2014. The former MP who has been sidelined by the party is likely to join the BJP on January 18 in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah on January 18, in New Delhi.
Reddy is likely to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to visit Hyderabad on January 19, to flag off the Vande Bharat Express.
On the same day, BRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has planned for a huge public meeting in Khammam. Several Ministers like Puvvada Ajay Kumar, Harish Rao and others will be participating in the event.
The fast changing political developments in Khammam is significant considering the region is seen as a microcosm of the entire state. Khammam has been a worrisome region for the BRS, as the Telangana statehood sentiment did not resonate greatly in the region even at the peak of statehood agitation, owing to its geographical location. Khammam borders the Andhra Pradesh state. The district dominated by the Kamma community has also ensured that the district remained distinct from others.
Following the TRS coming to power in 2014, they had poached several leaders including Reddy to strengthen its base in Khammam.
Khammam has already turned into a battle zone as YSRTP chief YS Sharmila has already announced of contesting from Palair constituency in Khammam.
The crisis in the BRS intensified a few months ago, as leaders from Khammam–Tummala Nageswara Rao, Jalagam Venkat Rao, and Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy– expressed their interest to contest on the BRS ticket from Khammam. Realising that the party cannot accommodate all of them, they have been weighing their options to switch to other parties or to contest independently.
Reddy is a former MP who contested and won from the Khammam Parliamentary constituency in 2014 on the YSRCP ( Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party) ticket. He later made a switch to the BRS in 2016. But in 2019, the BRS denied him the ticket to contest as the MP from Khammam constituency. Since then, Reddy had been sidelined by the party.
Reddy, who held a meeting with his supporters at Pinapaka on Tuesday, January 10, said that he will soon reveal the reason why he dissociated himself from the BRS. “Why am I not in power? Did the people reject me? Did other contestants defeat me? You know the reason. But still, out of the affection I have for KTR, I continued with the BRS party.”
He said that though there were opportunities to give posts to him and his supporters, they were denied on numerous occasions. Reddy further assured his supporters that he will ensure all of them would contest in the Assembly elections.