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Former TRS leader D. Srinivas returns to Congress, cites admiration for Rahul Gandhi


Published on: March 26, 2023 | Updated on: March 26, 2023

Senior politician D. Srinivas, who was a suspended member of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS), for the past few years, was welcomed into the Congress fold by AICC incharge Manikrao Thakre, TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy and senior leaders. (Photo: S. Surender Reddy)

Hyderabad: Senior politician D. Srinivas returned to the Congress on Sunday, eight years after he left to join the BRS, citing his admiration for AICC leader Rahul Gandhi.

Srinivas, who was a suspended member of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS), for the past few years, was welcomed into the Congress fold by AICC incharge Manikrao Thakre and TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy, besides senior leaders.

The former MLA and MP, who is now confined to a wheelchair, said he was returning to the party fold to support Rahul Gandhi.

TPCC chief A. Revanth Reddy termed Srinivas’ return as lucky for the party, citing that the Congress came to power under his leadership — not once, but twice. "This is a crucial moment for the party. DS came back to support the Gandhi family at this juncture. Everyone should welcome his decision. He was welcomed by all the top leaders of the party," he said.

The veteran Nizamabad leader is a three-time MLA, with wins in 1989, 1999 and 2004, and served as the education minister in Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy’s Cabinet. He is considered a key player in ensuring Congress wins in 2004 and 2009 as PCC chief for undivided Andhra Pradesh.

Srinivas, who is the father of BJP MP Dharmapuri Arvind and former Nizamabad mayor D. Sanjay, had expressed his intention to join the Congress since the BRS suspended him but resisted the move as it may have damaged Arvind’s political prospects.

A press release circulated by Arvind stating that his father would only be accompanied by his older brother D. Sanjay to Gandhi Bhavan, was seen as a move to downplay Srinivas joining the Congress. The presence of senior Congress leaders and the grand welcome given to Srinivas was in contrast to Arvind’s claims.

Former MP V. Hanumantha Rao, who offered the first ‘kanduva’ to Srinivas, asked the leader to transform his family, once again, into a Congress family. "I welcome that both of you (Srinivas and Sanjay) are joining the party, but it would have been much better if your younger son (Arvind) also joined the party. It would be one party and one family. Since BJP is losing ground, he will have a bright future in the Congress," he said.

Former minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said: "As a politician, he tasted other parties and felt bad. He has ultimately realised that nothing was like Congress. This was a welcome decision. After he resigned, I never met him and this was the first time I visited his residence today." Both Hanumantha Rao and Lakshmaiah, incidentally, are former PCC chiefs.

Srinivas quit the Congress in 2015, after serving as the Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council. He also represented the BRS as a Rajya Sabha member. But, he faced resistance within the party after his son Arvind joined the BJP.

The differences came to a head in 2018, when K. Kavitha, along with a group of MLAs and MLCs, passed a resolution asking party president and Chief Minsiter K. Chandrashekar Rao to revoke the primary party membership of Srinivas.

Despite being made a Rajya Sabha member, Srinivas remained uncomfortable with the BRS, failing to get the importance he hoped for, sources said. Chandrashekar Rao also avoided Srinivas and refused him an appointment. After Arvind won against Kavitha in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Srinivas was completely cornered.