Venkat Reddy\'s audio tape backing Rajagopal creates furore

Congress workers fume at bid to sabotage Sravanthi\'s chances

HYDERABAD: The leak of an audio tape in which Congress’ Bhongir MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy was heard urging a party leader to support his brother and Munugode BJP candidate Rajgopal Reddy created furore in the party on Friday.

The leak, apparently by Munugode Congress leaders, was seen as an angry reaction of the core party workers over what they described as an attempt to sabotage the party candidate’s Palvai Sravanthi’s chances from within in the bypoll.

Interestingly, the leak came a day after Pradesh Congress Committee president A. Revanth Reddy made an emotional appeal to party workers to protect the Congress from the onslaught of the BJP and the TRS which he said were conspiring jointly to uproot the party from Telangana.

The elder brother’s attempt came in for sharp criticism from Congress leaders. Irate party workers burnt Venkat Reddy’s effigy at Gandhi Bhavan, the PCC headquarters, in the city. They raised slogans calling Venkat Reddy a ‘betrayer’. They also demanded, through sloganeering, the removal of the MP from the primary membership of the party.

Rajgopal Reddy, however, offered an excuse that even TRS legislators were asking the Munugode electorate to vote for him. Venkat Reddy was unavailable for comment.

As per the leaked audio tape, Venkat Reddy was talking to one Jabbar, a local Congress sympathiser. The MP asked him to rise above political affiliations and support Rajagopal Reddy because he was always at the service of the people of Munugode. “Chaavaina, pellaina sayam chestadu (Rajgopal Redy stands by the people),” the Congress MP said.

The Congress leaders were also upset over the audacity with which Venkat Reddy spoke about his appointment as PCC chief after the bypoll and heading the Congress government after the next elections. “I will go on a padayatra and bring the party to power. I will take care. No need to worry,” he told the party leader.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former minister Shabbir Ali said the party would discuss Venkat Reddy’s conduct in the party forum.

Another video that went viral on social media in the evening did more harm to Venkat Reddy than good. A person claiming to be Jabbar, a resident of Dubbakalva village, , released a video message claiming that the audio tape was of 2018. Ironically, Venkat Reddy made it clear that there would be change in PCC presidentship after Munugode and that he would tour entire state and bring Congress to power. He also said everyone should support Rajgopal Reddy outside of party affiliations.

Venkat Reddy is said to have left for a foreign jaunt with his family members. Sources close to him said he had gone to Australia and would return on November 2, a day ahead of the Munugode bypoll.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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