With Congress merger unrealised, YSRTP to contest all 119 Assembly constituencies in Telangana

Sharmila said she would contest from Palair and one more constituency, adding her mother Vijayamma and her husband Anil might also contest.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Oct 12, 2023 | 7:25 PMUpdatedOct 13, 2023 | 10:28 AM

YSRTP Telangana election

With the Congress giving the thumbs down to a merger, YSRTP president YS Sharmila has decided to go it alone and contest in all the constituencies in the upcoming Assembly elections in Telangana.

“We will contest all the 119 Assembly seats in Telangana. We wanted to avert a split in the anti-BRS vote. We waited for four months. Now we cannot be held responsible,” Sharmila said while speaking at a party workers’ meeting in Hyderabad on Thursday, 12 October.

Related: Some in Congress see ‘value’ in YSRTP — but in AP, not Telangana

Sharmila to contest from Palair

Sharmila said that she would contest from Palair and one more constituency. She said if it was necessary, her mother Vijayamma and her husband Anil would also contest in the elections.

Though she did not name the Congress, it was quite obvious that she was referring to the grand old party when she said that the YSRTP could not be held responsible for the division in the anti-BRS votes.

Sharmila met Congress top brass Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on 31 August in Delhi over breakfast. She is believed to have offered to merge her party with the Congress, and, in return, be allowed to operate and contest in Telangana.

After the meeting, Sharmila said that she had a constructive discussion with the Gandhis and warned the BRS that the countdown for its end has begun.

This had fuelled speculation that she had struck a deal with the Congress on the merger. However, what followed was only silence.

Even AICC general secretary KC Venugopal asked the media persons, ahead of the CWC meeting in Hyderabad, to wait and see what would follow after her breakfast meeting with the Gandhis. Now it has become clear what he was hinting at.

Also read: YS Sharmila calls on Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi

Sharmila’s demands

Ever since the Congress fortunes began improving in Telangana after its landslide victory in Karnataka, Sharmila, to strike the iron while it was still hot, met Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar.

Leveraging on the friendship the YSR family had with the Karnataka leader, she put forth her proposal to merge her party into the Congress.

Initially, Shivakumar had reportedly suggested that she move to Andhra Pradesh as she would be more relevant there than in Telangana.

The Congress was reportedly worried that her presence might give the BRS the handle that it was looking for to rake up the Telangana sentiment once again and walk away with the electoral cake like it did in 2018.

This apart, Congress Telangana president A Revanth Reddy had said that Sharmila was not welcome in Telangana though he welcomed her into the party.

He suggested that she should work in Andhra Pradesh where elections are due next year.

According to sources, Revanth had put his foot firmly down in allowing Sharmila in Telangana since he did not want the emergence of another power centre in the party.

He is said to be of the belief that this might embolden “anti-Revanth Reddy” forces in the Congress, who are biding their time to strike at him for capturing the leadership of the party within a short span of joining the party from the TDP.

Also read: YS Sharmila says she is ready to go it alone in Telangana