Decks cleared for Ponnala Lakshmaiah to join the BRS on 16 October at public meeting at Jangoan in KCR’s presence

The former Congress state president and BC leader will call on Chief Minister KCR on Sunday before joining the BRS on Monday.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 14, 2023 | 11:54 PMUpdatedOct 14, 2023 | 11:54 PM

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

A day after dashing off his resignation letter to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former Telangana state chief of the party and Backward Class (BC) leader Ponnala Lakshmaiah on Saturday, 14 October, decided to meet Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in a prelude to joining the party.

He took the decision after BRS working president and IT Minister KT Rama Rao drove to his residence and formally invited him to join the pink party on Saturday, 14 October.

Lakshmaiah is expected to join the party at a public meeting to be addressed by KCR in his home constituency of Jangaon on 16 October.

The exit of Lakshmaiah is being viewed as a blow to the Congress, which has been trying to enlist the support of the BCs — who constitute over 50 percent of the population — to capture power in the state.

Also Read: Revanth Reddy a political pygmy who cannot take on KCR: KTR

Problem with Revanth Reddy

Lakshmaiah, who does not see eye to eye with current state president A Revanth Reddy, in his letter to Kharge, had accused the former of not giving him an audience to explain his view on how to bring the party back to life and make it ready to win the elections.

After Lakshmaiah resigned from the Congress, Revanth Reddy used objectionable language against him.

Speaking to media persons, he demanded to know where was the need for Lakshmaiah, with one foot in the grave, to change the party at this hour. He said the party had done a lot for Ponnala and yet he had decided to use disrespectful words against the the Congress leadership.

As soon as Lakshmaiah sent his letter to Kharge, KTR said that if the former was willing to join the BRS he would personally go to his home and invite him to join the pink party. He did so on Saturday, going to the BC leader’s home and formally extending an invitation to him to join the ranks of the BRS.

Later, speaking to mediapersons, KTR said: “As desired by our party president KCR, I met Lakshmaiah and requested him to join the BRS at the Jangoan public meeting on 16 October. He would get the respect that he deserves in our party.”

Related: Revanth Reddy says people will throw out BRS in Assembly polls

Revanth turns abusive

The BRS leader also slammed Revanth Reddy for using abusive language against Lakshmaiah.

“The former minister is a senior leader and has done a lot of service to the Congress party. But Revanth Reddy neither gave him respect nor an appointment when he wanted to meet him and explain what was ailing the party,” he said.

Later, Lakshmaiah told media persons that he would announce his decision to the people after meeting the chief minister on Sunday.

He said he was hurt over the way his contribution to the party has been deliberately overshadowed to reduce his stature in the party.

“Revanth Reddy is leading the party to extinction. He had forgotten that unity is strength. He should keep in mind that he, too, had lost Assembly elections in 2018,” he said.

According to sources South First spoke to, Lakshmaiah took the decision to leave the Congress after he came to know that the party might prefer local Jangaon leader Kommuri Pratap Reddy to him as the candidate for the Assembly seat.

Pratap Reddy is a supporter of Revanth Reddy.