HYDERABAD: The Congress leaders are divided into two groups over YSRTP president YS Sharmila’s interest in either joining the Congress or merging her party or striking an electoral alliance with the grand old party. The majority of the leaders in the Congress are opposing Sharmila’s entry into the Congress in the State.
Though the issue has been hanging fire for quite some time, her telephonic talk with a senior leader of the State Congress has set the cat among the pigeons. Sharmila has been in talks with the Congress leaders, trying to gauge the situation in the party. She is also in touch with AICC's top leadership.
The AICC leaders also called her to Delhi to discuss her proposal which she had discussed with Karnataka PCC chief and Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar. Priyanka Gandhi’s core group reportedly discussed with DK Shivakumar her merger plan and alternatively her alliance plan.
TPCC president A Revanth Reddy who knew about Sharmila’s intentions had requested the party leadership to think twice before welcoming her entry into the Congress. He expressed the fear that her Andhra ‘tag’ could badly impact the prospects of the party in Telangana.
The party leadership is also keen about her moving to Andhra Pradesh to fight against her brother and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.
But indications are that Sharmila is not interested in going to AP and she conveyed the same to the Congress high command. A former Rajya Sabha MP who is very close to her father and former chief minister of undivided AP, late YS Rajasekhara Reddy is understood to be facilitating the YSRTP merger in the Congress. He has reportedly stated that the merger will take place any time which is causing concern in the Revanth Reddy camp.
A core member of Revanth Reddy’s group said that she would become another power centre in the party if she merges her party in Congress. The Revanth Reddy camp recalls the last Assembly elections when the party had bitten the dust after it had struck an alliance with the TDP. If Sharmila steps into Telangana Congress, it would be nothing but a repeat of the 2018 fiasco, they said.
At a press meet, Revanth Reddy commented that Sharmila belongs to Andhra Pradesh and if she wants to serve the party there, that would be fine, but there is no chance for her to work in Telangana under the Congress leadership.
A senior leader and former minister stated that the party wants her to merge YSRTP in the Congress and allot two or three Assembly seats to her candidates and after the Telangana elections, she should move to AP and take the party’s responsibility there.
Those who want Sharmila in Telangana Congress are those who are opposed to Revanth Reddy. They would like to see Sharmila clip Revanth Reddy’s wings after merging her party in the Congress.