KTR accuses Congress of selling party tickets ahead of Telangana Assembly polls

Invites former TPCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who resigned from the Congress, to BRS.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 14, 2023 | 11:50 AMUpdatedOct 14, 2023 | 11:50 AM

Telangana assembly elections

The Congress is selling party tickets to those aspiring to contest the upcoming polls to the third Telangana Legislative Assembly, state Minister and BRS working president KT Rama Rao has said.

In an informal chat with the media on Friday, 13 October, Rama Rao, popularly known as KTR, claimed a Congress ticket aspirant was asked to pay ₹15 crore for fielding him in the Kukatpally constituency.

Referring to the Income-Tax searches at several locations in Bengaluru, and the seizure of ₹42 crore in cash from a contractor-politician’s residence at RT Nagar, the minister claimed the money was meant for the Congress’s poll campaign in Telangana.

The unearthing of the cash was a disquieting trend, he said, adding that the Congress was depending on money to fight the Assembly election.

Referring to the BRS campaign, KTR said that party supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao would campaign in 100 Assembly segments. However, the IT and Industries minister said he would focus more on Kamareddy and GHMC areas, apart from his home constituency, Sircilla.

Related: People will bid farewell to KCR for ignoring their problems: Eatala

Eatala Rajender will not win

Chief Minister KCR is the BRS candidate in Kamareddy. He is also contesting from Gajwel, which he represents in the outgoing Assembly.

KTR expressed hope that the BRS would win 88 of the 119 seats as it did in 2018. “The BRS is poised to win Huzurabad. BJP MLA Eatala Rajender would not win either from Huzurabad or Gajwel. He would not win even if he contests in 50 more seats,” he said.

“We have no objection if the YSRTP led by YS Sharmila contests from all the 119 seats or even if the Congress’s top leader Rahul Gandhi, or for that matter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi contests from any constituency in Telangana,” he exuded confidence.

The minister said the BRS election manifesto, which KCR would release on Sunday, would accord priority to the welfare of farmers, women, Dalits, tribespeople, Backward Communities (BCs), minorities, and pensioners. The Congress had not kept the promises it had made to the people in its manifestoes in 2004 and 2009, he claimed.

Also read: Ex-TPCC chief Ponnala resigns from party over raw deal to BCs

Open invitation to Ponnala

The BRS leader predicted serious trouble for the Congress once it announces its candidates.

“It will be a free-for-all in Gandhi Bhavan (the Congress headquarters in the state),” he said and pointed out that former Congress minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, who resigned from the party, was welcome to join the BRS.

“If he is willing, I will visit his home and invite him to join us,” KTR said. Former TPCC president Ponnala resigned from the Congress on Friday citing a raw deal to the BCs.

He said several Congress leaders would leave the Congress once the party releases the list of candidates. “They would all join the BRS,” he said.

KTR said he had information that there was some kind of an understanding between two important leaders in the Congress on the chief minister’s position.

The minister said that the upcoming elections would be a contest between the self-respect of Telangana Thalli and the arrogance of Delhi and Gujarat. “Union Home Minister Amit Shah has proved himself to be an inveterate liar. The BJP is sure to lose security deposits in 110 assembly seats. Its tally of seats would be restricted to a single digit,” he said.

In the outgoing Assembly, the Congress has five and AIMIM seven seats; the BJP has three. Two independent candidates had made it to the House in 2018.

Related: Naming in-charges puts battle-ready BRS’s priority seats in focus

‘Baseless allegation’

He dismissed as baseless the allegation that the BRS and BJP have a secret poll pact. “If we have any pact, why would we attack the BJP and why would we set up minority educational institutions,” he asked and questioned why either the I-T department or the Enforcement Directorate was not probing the illegal activities of TPCC president A Revanth Reddy.

Referring to Nara Lokesh’s tweet on his father and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu’s health, he said it pained him.

Taking to X, Lokesh on Friday said there was an immediate threat to Naidu’s life in prison. The senior TDP leader was arrested on 9 September in connection with the alleged multi-crore skill development scam.

“I can understand how a son feels when his father’s health begins to fail. I too, had felt the same when KCR was on hunger strike,” he said and clarified that if the government did not allow any agitations in Hyderabad in support of Chandrababu Naidu, it was only to ensure that Hyderabad remained peaceful.