Mass exodus of leaders leaves Congress sulking in Seemandhra
The Congress, which ruled Andhra Pradesh till last month, has now turned into an empty house in Seemandhra following the mass exodus of MPs, former ministers, MLAs and other leaders mostly into the TDP, protesting the bifurcation of the state.
In fact, a joke is doing the rounds in Hyderabad that the NTR Bhavan (headquarters of Telugu Desam Party) is fast turning into Gandhi Bhavan (the state Congress office), with the seemingly unending influx of leaders into the former from the latter, particularly from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.
The Congress is likely to bleed further in Seemandhra as some of its top and powerful leaders like (Union Minister) Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, former ministers JC Diwakar Reddy, D L Ravindra Reddy and the likes are all set to cross over to the TDP.
The Congress could not even find persons to be fielded for elections to Urban Local Bodies in Seemandhra, slated for March 30.
In coastal town Eluru, for example, only nine Congress nominees are in fray for 50 divisions in the local municipal corporation. In the remaining divisions, not a single candidate filed nomination on behalf of the Congress.
The scene is no different in other districts in Seemandhra, reports indicate. In the four districts that comprise Rayalaseema region, the Congress` house has totally emptied, though in four to five districts in coastal Andhra very few leaders still remained with the party.
Barring N Raghuveera Reddy, the newly-appointed chief of Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee, the party is left with not a single leader worth the name in Anantapuram district.
It`s lone MP from Anantapuram Venkatrami Reddy switched over to the YRS Congress, while most of MLAs have joined the TDP. Interestingly, former minister S Sailajanath from the district, who has been appointed vice-president of the newly-formed Jai Samaikyaandhra Party, floated by former Chief Minister N Kirankumar Reddy, is now reportedly looking towards the TDP. He is currently away in the US undergoing treatment for cancer.
In the neighbouring Chittoor district, all leaders, including N Kiran Kumar Reddy, have deserted the Congress. Union Minister Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy is left to hold the Congress fort all alone in Kurnool district after two former ministers and almost all MLAs joined the TDP. The lone Congress bigwig in Kadapa, D L Ravindra Reddy`s entry into TDP is now just a formality as he has been taking an active part in its activities for the past few days.
In SPS Nellore district, only the `Anam brothers` -- Vivekananda Reddy and Ramanarayana Reddy -- remained in the Congress. In Prakasam district, ex-minister M Maheedhar Reddy and also MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy are reportedly exploring options to leave the Congress.
Only in Guntur district does the Congress appear rather less affected with one Union Minister and three state ministers staying with the party, though one MP and some other legislators left it. Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao did not join the Jai Samaikyaandhra Party as expected, but is reportedly inching towards the TDP.
He is said to be waiting for an assurance from the TDP leadership on fielding him from the Narasaraopet Lok Sabha seat. The TDP is trying to convince its sitting MP Modugula Venugopal Reddy to make way for Rayapati in Narasaraopet.
Though former minister K Parthasarathy from Krishna district still remains with the Congress, he is reportedly exploring options to switch over any time now. Congress MLAs from the district are unable to take a call on their future step as other parties have virtually shut doors on them.
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