Hyderabad: Despite experiencing a humiliating defeat in the hands of the TRS in Telangana and its worst ever electoral performance in Seemandhra, the Congress high command seems to have not learnt its lessons and has decided to rely on the same set of politicians as Leaders of Opposition.
Former minister Kunduru Jana Reddy and former PCC chief D. Srinivas were declared “elected” unanimously for the posts of Leaders of Opposition in the Telangana state Assembly and the Legislative Council respectively on Tuesday. Both were, in fact, in the race for Chief Minister or Leader of the House in the recently concluded general elections.
Meanwhile, the selection of Mr Srinivas as Leader of the Congress Legislature Party in the Legislative Council and Md Shabbir Ali as Deputy Leader did not go down well as there were murmurs of dissent from the other Legislative Council members.
Interestingly, both Mr Srinivas and Mr Shabbir Ali were defeated thrice in Assembly polls. Both were nominated by the party high command to be MLCs despite their defeats. The same persons will now will lead the Opposition in the Telangana Council against the TRS government.
Congress leaders Digvijay Singh, Vayalar Ravi, Thirunavukkarasu and Kuntia “conducted” the meeting to select the leaders of Opposition.
Meanwhile, senior legislator K. Jana Reddy was “elected” unopposed as the CLP leader in the Telangana Assembly to head 21 legislators, including himself, to take on TRS Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for the next five years.
Though suggestions had come from members like D.K. Aruna, J. Geeta Reddy and Uttam Kumar Reddy that a real election should take place to decide the leader, the will of the high command leaders who had “gathered opinions” from individual members prevailed.
Mr Jana Reddy said that he would lead the Opposition to play a constructive role in the Assembly besides being confidant of returning the Congress to power in the 2019 elections. In another development, the Congress high command leaders selected former minister C. Ramachandraiah, who was the Leader of the House in the undivided AP Legislative Council till a few days ago, as the new Opposition leader in the Legislative Council of Seemandhra.
Congress senior leader and MLC M. Rajalingam, meanwhile, created a flutter immediately after the meeting of Congress MLCs with the high command leaders was over on Tuesday.
He said that Mr Srinivas had offered him Rs 10 lakh for not opposing his candidature.
“In the morning, Mr Srinivas sent me a cheque of Rs 10 lakh with a request to not oppose him as Opposition leader. I refused and sent the cheque back. How can such a person who has been defeated by the people and who wants to buy his own party MLCs be the leader?” Mr Rajalingam asked.
He added that if this tendency in the Congress continued, he would have to rethink about continuing in the party.
When mediapersons referred these allegations to Mr Digvijay Singh, he said: “We will enquire if any such thing has happened, and if it is proved that Mr Srinivas has offered him some money, we will take action.”