HYDERABAD: Barely 15 months after he joined the saffron party, former MP Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy on Wednesday resigned from the BJP and announced that he would be joining the Congress in the presence of former AICC president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on October 27. Rajagopal Reddy had resigned as Congress MLA to join the BJP, forcing a byelection for the Munugode seat which he lost by a margin of around 10,000 votes.
In a media statement on Wednesday, the former MP said that his decision to part ways with the BJP was driven by his understanding that the Congress has overtaken the BJP to emerge as an alternative to the ruling BRS, and in view of the Centre failing to take any action against the pink party on the allegations of massive corruption it faces.
Addressing the media in Moinabad later, Rajagopal Reddy assured that he will contest and will continue to represent Munugode constituency till his last breath, and also expressed his desire to contest from Gajwel against Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. He also challenged KCR to contest against him from the Munugode constituency “if he had the guts”.
‘Defeating KCR is my goal’
“Whether in BJP or Congress, my only goal has been to defeat the autocratic rule of KCR,” Rajagopal Reddy asserted. He rubbished reports that he was expecting a ticket for his wife Komatireddy Lakshmi for Munugode and that he wanted to contest from the LB Nagar constituency.
“There are a considerable number of voters from erstwhile Nalgonda district living in LB Nagar constituency. My supporters informed me that I could contest and win either from Munugode or LB Nagar. But I had informed BJP state election in-charge Prakash Javadekar that I didn’t want my name to figure in the list of candidates as I didn’t want to insult the party,” he said.
Expressing confidence in witnessing a political change in Telangana in five weeks, Rajagopal Reddy predicted that BRS faced a “certain defeat”.He also wondered what his political rivals, who had, during the Munugode byelection, accused him of selling himself to the BJP for contracts, will say now that he is back in the Congress.
“I feel pity for Harish Rao and (IT Minister KT Rama Rao) KTR who are going to the homes of even small leaders in villages, begging them to support the BRS. In Telangana, it is not going to be just a political fight, but a struggle for self-respect,” he said.
Downplaying questions about the exchange of harsh words between TPCC chief A Revanth Reddy and him after he had resigned from the Congress, Rajagopal Reddy reminded that the former did say to him and former MP G Vivek Venkatswamy that he was ready to take a step back if it meant they staying put in the grand old party.
“In Congress, TPCC and AICC leaders keep changing. No president is permanent. Differences between leaders are a regular occurrence in politics and the media need not make a big deal out of petty differences of opinion,” Rajagopal Reddy said.
He thanked Union Home Minister Amit Shah for reposing faith in him and giving him an opportunity to contest the Munugode byelection. “I hope the BJP leadership will understand my political move, as it was taken as per the people’s aspirations,” Rajagopal Reddy said.
Free to stay or leave: Kishan
Reacting to the news, BJP State president G Kishan Reddy said that just because Rajagopal Reddy said so, the BJP was not out of the contest against the BRS. “People are free to stay or leave,” he said.BJP MP K Laxman said that it was not proper for Rajgopal to make detrimental statements against the BJP after the party’s central leadership had given him much importance at the national level.
Pointing out that BJP workers were spilling their blood to strengthen the party, Laxman said that Rajagopal Reddy levelling allegations against the BJP after joining it in the presence of its national leaders was not appreciable.Calling Rajagopal Reddy a “passing cloud,” former MP AP Jithender Reddy said that it is normal to see some leaders like him joining and leaving the party in a short span of time.
Rubbishing the talk about the possibility of him leaving the BJP to join Congress, Vivek Venkatswamy said that he will be contesting for the Peddapalli Lok Sabha seat in 2024.It may be mentioned here that Vivek Venkatswamy has been selected by the party’s central leadership to contest from the Chennur segment.