Election Special-EN

20 turncoats get elected on Congress tickets in Telangana

Out of 64 candidates of the Congress party who were elected in Telangana Assembly elections, at least 20 are those who had crossed over to the party from BRS and BJP during the last five months.

Some of them had switched loyalties to the Congress only a few days before the deadline for filing of nominations.

The Congress party, which was worried over lack of strong candidates in about 40 constituencies, was quick to lure disgruntled leaders from both BRS and BJP and this strategy paid off and finally helped the party wrest power from BRS.

As the BRS had announced its candidates in August, about 45 days before the announcement of poll schedule, and it retained almost all sitting MLAs, this gave ample time to Congress to reach out to those BRS leaders who were unhappy over denial of tickets.

Former MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy, former ministers Jupally Krishna Rao, Tummala Nageswara Rao, former MPs G. Vivek, K. Rajagopal Reddy were among the prominent leaders who crossed over to Congress from BRS or BJP and won the election.

Thirty of the 118 candidates fielded by the Congress party were those who had joined the party recently. Only 10 of them could not make it.

Undivided Khammam district saw victory of maximum number of turncoats. In 2018, Congress had won six out of 10 seats in this district and except two all had later crossed over to BRS. Both MLAs of TDP had also defected to BRS. They all had to bite to dust in this election as the BRS candidates who had finished second in the previous election switched loyalties to Congress.

Former Khammam MP Pongulet Srinivas Reddy, who was suspended from BRS, was one of the first to join Congress after the party’s victory in neighbouring Karnataka. He has been elected from Palair constituency. The others, who won after crossing over from BRS, are Tummala Nageswar Rao (Khammam), K. Kanakaiah (Yellandu), P. Venkateswarlu (Pinapaka), J. Adinarayana (Aswaraopet) and M. Ragamayee (Sathupalli).

Nageswara Rao, who had also served as a minister in the first BRS government, joined Congress in September as he was denied ticket by the party. A former TDP leader, he had also served as minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh. In Khammam he defeated transport minister P. Ajay Kumar by over 49,000 votes.

In undivided Mahabubnagar district former minister Jupally Krishna Rao, who had joined Congress in July after he was suspended from BRS, won the election from Kollapur constituency. Others who crossed over from BRS and elected on Congress ticket are T. Megha Reddy (Wanaparthy), who defeated Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy, Kasireddy Narayana Reddy (Kalwakurthy) and K. Rajesh Reddy (Nagarkurnool). Narayan Reddy was Member of Legislative Council from BRS while Rajesh Reddy is the son of BRS MLC K. Damodar Reddy.

Former MLA Y. Srinivas Reddy, who had quit BJP to join Congress, was elected from Mahabubnagar defeating Excise Minister V. Srinivas Goud.

Those who bagged tickets after crossing over from BRS a few days before announcement of poll schedule and still got elected are B. Manohar Reddy (Tandur), Vemula Veeresham (Nakrekal), M. Samel (Tungathurthi).

Mynampalli Hanumanth Rao, the sitting MLA of BRS from Malkajgiri, had quit the party to join Congress as BRS had denied ticket to his son Myanmpalli Rohit, elected from Medak. The Congress party fielded both. While Hanumanth Rao suffered defeat from Malkajgiri, his son was elected from Medak.

Former MP G. Vivek, who quit BJP to join Congress in the eleventh hour, won Chennur seat. K. Rajagopal Reddy, who had quit Congress to join BJP to force the by-election to Munugode last year, returned to Congress at the last minute and still managed to get the ticket and was re-elected from the same constituency. Former TDP leader Revuri Prakash Reddy, who too had quit BJP, won Parkal seat on Congress ticket.

Another BJP leader and former minister A. Chandrasekhar, who crossed to Congress, could not win Zahirabad.

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