Ahead of Telangana Assembly Elections-2023, former MLA Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy on Wednesday announced that he has quit from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and re-joined Congress. He wants to fight against Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao in Gajwel apart from his earlier constituency of Munugode-which he won in the 2018 elections as a Congress candidate. He resigned from Congress and as a legislator in August, 2022 leading to a by-election in the Munugode Assembly constituency. Mr. Reddy joined BJP in the same month, contested the by-poll and lost it to BRS candidate Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy.
Mr. Reddy, who had apparently been approached by the Congress high command to rejoin his parent party, accepted the proposal and the announcement of his resignation from BJP came as expected on Wednesday morning. The Congress is yet to announce its candidates for Munugode and Gajwel constituencies.
Sources close to him revealed to The Hindu that Mr. Reddy wants to be fielded by the Congress from Gajwel against the Chief Minister KCR since he resigned as MLA and forced the Munugode by-poll only to take on Mr. KCR’s rule. At that time, he felt the BJP was the right choice but now things have changed and the BJP doesn’t look serious enough to defeat the BRS, said Mr. Reddy. “The perception that BJP and BRS were together has reached the bottom and it won’t change in these 40 days,” he said.
“When I risked my political career resigning as MLA to fight against KCR’s government despite knowing that the ruling party would put all its might to defeat me, one should understand how desperate I want to see KCR go,” Mr. Reddy is said to have told his followers.
In this scenario, Mr. Reddy is also under pressure from his followers that he should contest from Munugode not as a BJP candidate but as a Congress candidate. Mr. Reddy polled about 87,000 votes in the Munugode bypoll and a majority of these were purely his votes since BJP is not a force to reckon with in the communist-dominated Nalgonda district. “And this is despite the CM appointing over 100 leaders, including Ministers and MLAs to defeat him,” his followers argue.
The BJP apparently offered him both Munugode and L.B. Nagar seats to choose his best but he was not comfortable going to L.B. Nagar leaving Munugode. He didn’t want to leave the impression that he had left his own turf Munugode to a comparatively safe seat L.B. Nagar.
Sources said the BJP too has not included his name in the first list given this dilemma and also due to rumours that there was a possibility of him leaving the BJP.
Mr. Rajgopal Reddy is the younger brother of Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkata Reddy and his entry would definitely have an impact on several constituencies in erstwhile Nalgonda district, his followers claim. It is not, however, clear whether he would contest from Munugode or Gajwel or both the places.