Congress party’s BC problem: Ex-TPCC chief Ponnala resigns from party over raw deal to BCs in ticket distribution

He was hoping for a ticket to contest from Jangoan Assembly seat, but it seems the party has finalised the ticket for another aspirant.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 13, 2023 | 10:59 PMUpdatedOct 13, 2023 | 10:59 PM

Ponnala Lakshmaiah. (Batthini Vinay Kumar Goud/Wikimedia Commons)

Citing the “injustice” being meted out to the Backward Classes (BCs), former Congress Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president and ex-minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah resigned from the party on Friday, 13 October.

Lakshmaiah, 79, sent a missive to the party’s national president Mallikarjun Kharge, expressing his anguish over how he has been sidelined in the party. He was hoping for a party ticket to contest from the Jangoan Assembly seat, but it now appears that the party has finalised the ticket for another aspirant.

Lakshmaiah said he was not resigning from any positions and that he cannot now say his future course of action. After announcing his resignation, he went incommunicado.

The party veteran threw barbs at leaders at both the state and national levels for failing to pay heed to the views of BC leaders like him in helping the party bounce back. But now the party is being run on commercial lines, he said.

Though the septuagenarian was in Delhi for 10 days recently, AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal did not give him an appointment.

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Left out in the cold

Even the current state unit president Revanth Reddy had no time for him when he sought an appointment to discuss the need to give the BCs their due in the party.

He said he could not find any vestiges of social justice in the party anymore and showing the results of the questionable surveys, the BCs were being sidelined while finalising tickets for the Assembly seats.

Lakshmaiah’s exit from the party is being considered as a rude jolt to the party ahead of the 30 November elections and is expected to impact Congress prospects at a time it is preparing to fight the BRS.

Recalling his Telangana credentials, Lakshmaiah said he was the first of the 44 Congress MLAs to sign a memorandum addressed to the party high command in 2001 for the creation of the Telangana state.

“I am the most genuine Telangana protagonist,” he said, adding that the party national leadership had kept quiet when he was sidelined time and again by the state leadership.

He said that he, in his 12 years as a minister, had seven reservoirs constructed in the Jangoan constituency. “I felt it was an honour to be a Congress leader. Though the party offered him a berth in the Legislative Council after he lost the election in the past, he said he had declined it politely.

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Insulted and humiliated

The former Congress state president said he had information that the party was giving a go-by to the Udaipur resolution in allotment of tickets and this time, too, like in the past, the BCs would be served a raw deal.

He said the party was not faring well as it was expected because the reins were in the hands of leaders with no commitment to the party’s ideology. He said he was exiting the party as the continuing humiliation has become unbearable.

Recalling his 45 years of service to the party, Lakshmaiah said he was minister for 12 years under various chief ministers and that he was the first state unit president of Telangana. He said he was eased out of the post unceremoniously and yet he kept quiet, abiding by the party’s code of discipline.

Lakshmaiah said that he was held responsible for the party’s debacle in 2014, but the party did not take similar action against the incumbent president when it lost the elections again in 2018.

Laksmiaha said that for the past two years, the developments in the party had upset him. The party had ignored leaders like him who had a lot of experience in public life while giving priority to those who walked into the party recently. He said he was distressed to realise that the party was treating him more as an outsider.