YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) leader Y.S. Sharmila on Thursday merged her party with the Congress.
Sharmila, daughter of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. Rajasekhara Reddy, joined the Congress in the presence of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and top leader Rahul Gandhi.
Both the leaders welcomed her into Congress with party scarves. Supporters of Sharmila raised slogans at the programme held at AICC headquarters here.
Sharmila’s husband Anil Kumar, AICC General Secretary K.C. Venugopal and Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president G. Rudra Raju were also present.
Later, Sharmila told media persons that she was delighted to merge YSRTP with the Congress party.
Sharmila said whatever responsibility the Congress party gives her, she will try to fulfill with loyalty and integrity.
“It was my father’s dream to see Mr Rahul Gandhi as the Prime Minister and I am happy that I am going to be a part to make it happen,” she said.
“Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, the legendary leader of Telugu people not only served the Congress party all his life but also gave his life serving the Congress party. Today it will give him great joy that his daughter is following in his footsteps and going to be a part of the Congress party,” she added.
Sharmila, who is sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) president Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, noted that Congress is still the largest secular party of the country. “The Congress party always upheld the true culture of India and unwaveringly served all communities, uniting all sections of people of India,” she said.
Sharmila also said that as a Christian she was pained over the cruelty that took place in Manipur. “Two thousand churches were vandalised and 60,000 people became homeless,” she said, adding that it struck her that this is what will happen if a secular party is not in power. “Therefore, I am merging YSR Telangana Party into the Congress party gladly today because I know the Congress party will uphold all sections of the society,” she said.
YSR’s daughter said that Rahul Gandhi through his Bharat Jodo Yatra gave immense confidence to most people in India.
She claimed that since Congress stood a chance of winning in Telangana, she graciously withheld YSRTP from contesting Assembly elections as she did not want to divide anti-KCR votes. She said she was happy that they contributed to the Congress victory in Telangana.
Sharmila, who had actively campaigned for YSRCP in 2019 elections, felt sidelined by Jagan after the party came to power with a landslide victory.
In 2021, she entered politics in Telangana and floated the YSRTP.