Telangana: MLAs delay exodus from BRS to Congress, trigger debates

Some feel it’s a setback for ruling party, others call it deliberate ploy
The Congress flag used for representational purpose.
The Congress flag used for representational purpose.File photo

HYDERABAD: Much to the surprise of many, there has not been a mass exodus of leaders into the grand old party after the statement of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy that the Congress has opened its doors for BRS MLAs, sparking debates about the reasons.

Even veteran leaders are wondering if there is a strategy, which they are unaware of, behind the delay by BRS MLAs to knock on Congress doors.

Internal discussions in both Congress and BRS circles these days revolve around the indecisiveness of the MLAs and the rationale behind their cautious approach. Many Congress veterans believe that it is a deliberate strategy by the chief minister, while hardcore BRS loyalists say that it’s a setback for the Congress.

After a particularly sharp attack by the BRS on his government, Revanth had publicly said that the Congress doors were now open for the pink party MLAs. However, he suddenly “withdrew” the offer, though not publicly, confounding many in the Congress.

Recently, Rajendranagar MLA Prakash Goud expressed interest in joining the Congress but later said he won’t after “consulting his supporters”. Some believe that the chief minister plans a major shock for the BRS leadership by welcoming a large group of pink party MLAs into the Congress fold about a week before the votes are cast. This would give the pink party no time to recover, they say.

Publicly, BRS leaders say that their MLAs have complete confidence that party supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao would lead them to a comprehensive victory in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. However, some say, off the record, that the delay may be part of a strategy by Revanth to undermine BRS’ electoral prospects.

So far, only three MLAs have defected from BRS to Congress — Danam Nagender, Kadiyam Srihari and Tellam Venkata Rao. However, the expected defection of Prakash Goud never materialised.

Congress leaders and those close to Revanth maintain that the party is closely monitoring the situation and gathering feedback from various quarters to gauge the impact of recent defections. The high command has reportedly advised patience until after the Lok Sabha elections before welcoming more BRS MLAs.

According to BRS sources, a section of the MLAs have requested the Congress leadership to postpone any defections until after the elections.

Understandably, their decision will hinge on the performance of the BRS in the elections. They are also taking into account the possibility of a BJP-led Union government and the prospect of a BRS-BJP alliance in Telangana. A senior MLA, who had earlier served in the BRS Cabinet and was preparing to join the Congress along with a few MLAs, has now implemented “Plan B”— bide for time. Some of these MLAs, requesting anonymity, said if the BJP and BRS tie up after the elections, KCR will not take them back into the party.

Meanwhile, speculations regarding the migration of MLAs continue to rock political circles, and may finally end only with the Lok Sabha election results.

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The New Indian Express