HYDERABAD: The rift between leaders opposed to State Congress chief A Revanth Reddy and those who support him widened further even as the TPCC leadership organised a massive public meeting aimed at displaying his strength in Yellareddy on Sunday.
The seniors who describe themselves as ‘originals’ and ‘loyalists’ of the party high command — former minister Marri Shashidhar Reddy, former MP V Hanumantha Rao and Sangareddy MLA T Jayaprakash ‘Jagga’ Reddy, huddled up at a hotel in Hyderabad to take stock of the situation and explain to the high command the Revanth Reddy’s attitude towards them.
Meanwhile, Revanth’s supporters, led by former government whip Eravarthri Anil, warned the ‘loyalists’ to mend their ways. Even as groupism has now come out in the open, the high command is believed to have advised against holding the meeting outside Gandhi Bhavan. AICC secretary Bose Raju called them and urged them not to go ahead with their plans.
Shashidhar Reddy, after maintaining a low profile for some time, began rallying leaders who had time and again openly criticised the style of Revanth’s functioning. In the first meeting held at his residence on March 14, former TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah, former Minister J Geetha Reddy, MLA D Sridhar Babu, Kisan Congress national vice-president M Kodanda Reddy turned up.
At Sunday’s meeting, Shashidhar Reddy emphasised that there was a ‘need for changes’ within the party to ensure the survival of Congress by the time next elections arrive be it the General elections or Assembly polls.
Will reveal all wrongdoings of detractors, warns Jagga
Following reports of possible suspension of the leaders for taking steps detrimental to the party’s interest, Jagga Reddy warned that he would not keep quiet and reveal all the wrongdoings of detractors within the Congress party if action is taken against him.
Later, some of Revanth’s supporters reached the spot where the meeting was going on. They were not allowed inside, but they spoke to Jagga Reddy. The Sangareddy MLA, who was the first to raise the flag against the State’s leadership challenged Revanth, to field a man of his choice to take him on in the next elections. “If the man of his choice wins in my constituency then he would be the hero. If I am able to retain the seat, I will be the hero. In case we lose, we both will be zeros,” he said.
Earlier, Revanth’s supporters — Eravarthri Anil, Addanki Dayakar, Bellaiah Naik and K Manavatha Rai, addressing a press conference, said that the issue of dissidence would be brought to the notice of high command and suspension would be sought.
Manavatha Rai felt that the way some seniors were behaving strengthens the argument that there were ‘coverts’ in the party. He felt that the party workers would not hesitate to drive them away.