In yet another setback to the Congress in Telangana, its senior leader and former MLC Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy on Sunday, 31 March resigned from the party and announced his decision to join the BJP.
In his resignation letter sent to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, Sudhakar Reddy, a former secretary of AICC, said, "Unfortunately, the traditions and values of Congress party have changed contrary to its principles. Money influence has increased during allocation of tickets in Telangana Assembly elections in 2018, MLC elections and also coming Lok Sabha elections."
"It is shocking to find that crores of rupees is being sought for allocation of tickets. This kind of commercialisation of ticket allocation in Indian National Congress forced me to consider leaving the party and I am rendering my resignation," Reddy said.
Speaking to ANI, he also cited Congress’ reactions to the Pulwama attack as a reason behind his decision. He said:
"“There are a lot of middlemen, there is no certainty if voice of the loyalists are reaching the leadership. Our soldiers died in Pulwama, in the last few months, there has been a change in party leaders’ attitude, levelling allegations and saying whatever comes to mind.”" -
Earlier in March, former Congress leader Tom Vadakkan also gave similar reasons for quitting the Congress.
Reddy also said he faced humiliation during his time in the Congress.
"“I had been with Congress for the last 40 years and faced humiliation at times. Yet I worked for the party. We lost badly in Telangana in the last elections due to failure of the local leadership. LS elections are being contested under same leaders.”"
Referring to the air strikes carried out by IAF in Pakistan, Reddy said he was annoyed by the attitude of Congress and its prominent leaders as their stand on the issue of terrorism and national security had been "inconsistent".
Reddy further said he would meet BJP President Amit Shah in New Delhi on Sunday evening and join the party. He told PTI that he wanted to work under the strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the larger interest of the nation.
"I am confident Modiji will again become the prime minister. Being a worker of BJP, I will concentrate on strengthening the party. I am not joining the party seeking any post," Reddy, whose MLC term ended on 29 March, said. He also added that he will take part in PM Narendra Modi's rally in Hyderabad on Monday, 1 April.
Reddy’s decision to join the saffron party was also hailed by party General Secretary, Ram Madhav who said:
“He (Reddy) has been a senior leader of the Congress party. Today, he has joined BJP and has decided to work under the leadership of PM Modi. His joining BJP will strengthen the party in Telangana.”
Recently, senior Congress leader and former minister DK Aruna had quit the Congress and joined the BJP and was the party's contesting candidate from Mahbubnagar Lok Sabha seat.
The Congress is the main opposition in Telangana, where it had won 19 seats in the 7 December Assembly elections. The Congress is in a turmoil as 10 MLAs have announced their decision to quit the party since the beginning of this month and joined the TRS, which now appears to have the momentum ahead of the 11 April Lok Sabha polls.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)
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