Hyderabad: Surprising his own party leaders as well as the Opposition, TRS president and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao is said to have given the green signal to Telugu Desam politburo member and former MP, Nama Nageswara Rao, to join the ruling party.
Mr Chandrasekhar Rao is making a prestige issue of winning the Khammam Lok Sabha seat and is in search of a strong candidate from his party.
Mr Nageswara Rao, an industrialist-turned-politician, is one of the richest politicians in the country, who declared assets of over `113 crore in the 2018 Assembly elections. He is the promoter of Madhucon Projects Limited, a leading infrastructure company.
Nageswara Rao’s name was doing the rounds in the Congress for Khammam seat but he changed his plans after meeting Mr Chandrasekhar Rao on Monday. He resigned from the Telugu Desam on Tuesday.
In his resignation letter to TD president and AP Chief Minister .N Chandrababu Naidu, Mr Nageswara Rao said that he took the decision because the sustainability of the party was under question in Telangana state. He is expected to be fielded as the TRS candidate for the Lok Sabha elections from Khammam in place of sitting MP Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy.
Interestingly, Mr Nageswara Rao may be another beneficiary of the “Midas touch” of Puvvada Ajay Kumar. In 2014, Tummala Nageswara Rao, then with the TD, lost to Mr Ajay Kumar who was with the Congress. Mr Tummala Nageswara Rao later joined the TRS and became a minister. Mr Kumar also joined the TRS after a few months.
In the recent Assembly elections, Mr Ajay Kumar defeated Mr Nama Nageswara Rao. The decision of the TRS boss to allow Mr Nama Nageswara Rao into the party has given scope to wider discussion among the party leaders particularly within the leaders of Khammam district.
According to sources, Mr Tummala Nageswara Rao and Mr Nama Nageswara Rao have had political differences for long, even during their days in the Telugu Desam. Sources said Mr Ajay Kumar also has differences with Mr Nama Nageswara Rao. His entry into the TRS is likely to impact the equations of the party leaders of Khammam district.
Mr Nama Nageswara Rao entered politics around 15 years ago by joining the Telugu Desam. He contested the Khammam Lok Sabha seat in 2004 and was defeated by Congress’ Renuka Chowdary. He won in 2009 and served as leader of the TD parliamentary party during his stint in the Lok Sabha.
It may be mentioned here that last week the Central Bureau of Investigation conducted raids on Mr Nama Nageswara Rao’s Madhucon Projects, suspecting it of diversion of funds to the extent of `264 crore in the construction of the Ranchi-Rargaon-Jamshedpur four-lane national highway project (NH-33) worth `1,151 crore.
Sources in the TRS revealed that though the party chief had initially thought of fielding V. Rajendra Prasad, a businessman, or G. Venkat-eswara Rao, a contractor, from Khammam, he chan-ged his mind at the last minute and accepted the proposal of Mr Nama Nageswara Rao to join the TRS.
The TRS had won only one Assembly segment out of seven in the Khammam parliamentary constituency. The TD won Aswaraopeta, Sathupalli and Kothagudem. Madhira and Palair were won by the Congress and an independent candidate won Wyra.
In the recent political developments, Wyra, Sathu-palli, Palair and Kotha-gudem MLAs have joined the TRS. Together with its own legislator, it now has five representatives in the district. Opposition legislators now represent only two Assembly segments in the Khammam Lok Sabha constituency — Leader of Opposition Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka in Madhira and M. Nageswara Rao of the TD in Aswaraopeta.