BRS in turmoil: High-profile defections, corruption allegations shake party

Former Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy switches to Congress amid BRS leadership's struggles with corruption probes and electoral setbacks.
Former Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy
Former Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy Photo | Facebook

HYDERABAD : Turmoil is the order of the day in the BRS with several of its MLAs defecting to other parties and others facing allegations of involvement in various scams even as inquiry commissions breathe down the neck of its leadership.

Top leaders like former deputy CM Kadiyam Srihari, former minister Danam Nagender and MLA T Venkat Rao shifted their allegiance to the Congress months ago and on Friday, former Speaker and Banswada MLA Pocharam Srinivas Reddy too switched allegiance. The buzz in BRS circles is that around 15 more MLAs may follow suit.

Even as its ranks deplete, the BRS faces another headache in the form of allegations of corruption against its leaders. Patancheru MLA Gudem Mahipal Reddy and his brother Madhusudhan Reddy are being probed for illegal mining activities, with the Enforcement Directorate carrying out raids on their properties.

In a separate case, the office of former minister and Sanathnagar MLA Talasani Srinivas Yadav is implicated in the sheep scam, leading to arrests of his OSD and other officials. What is more worrying for the BRS leadership is the possibility of the ACB knocking on the doors of Srinivas Yadav as he was holding the Animal Husbandry portfolio in the BRS regime.

Former chief minister and BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao himself is under pressure over the Power Purchase Agreements with Chhattisgarh and the Kaleshwaram irrigation project. The Justice Narasimha Reddy judicial commission had recently issued a notice to KCR. The notice has led to heightened tensions within the party. Additionally, the Justice PC Ghose judicial commission has expedited its probe into the alleged irregularities in the Kaleshwaram project.

Another sensitive issue is the ongoing investigation into the phone-tapping case that has led to the arrest of several police officers. Insiders say that the investigators are gathering material evidence against former government officials, as well as KCR and members of his Cabinet.

The BRS leadership is also facing the fallout from losing the recent Lok Sabha elections, where its vote share shifted towards the BJP. With urban and local body elections on the horizon, questions are being raised about the party’s standing. In fact, a section of BRS leaders is wondering about their future if they continue to stay with the party.

What is more troubling for this section is the failure of the party leadership to conduct a postmortem meeting to analyse its Lok Sabha election defeat. The party also eagerly awaits a major organisational revamp, since various wings are inactive and need direction.

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