The national executive member of the BJP, Gaddam Vivekanand, who was heading the manifesto committee of Telangana BJP, crossed over to the Congress, saying the shift was needed to end Chief Minister KCR’s rule in the state.
“We struggle for Telangana but people are not able to enjoy the benefits. Only one family has benefited, so I joined the Congress to defeat BRS and KCR,” Mr Vivekanand said.
The former MP spoke with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi who is campaigning in Telangana, and the state Congress chief Revanth Reddy, who said it was a homecoming for Vivekananda, who is the son of Congressman G Venkataswamy. His brother G Vinod is the Congress candidate from Bellampalle.
There is a strong buzz that the Chennur seat has not been announced by the Congress yet with a view to accommodating Vivekanand, who may want the seat to be offered to his son.
A hint to that effect came from Revanth Reddy who said Venkataswamy’s family had a deep bond with the Gandhi family and the Congress and “we want the third generation also to be associated with the Congress”.
Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who made a similar jump from the BJP to the Congress, had given a similar reason for his homecoming.
“Though the BJP leaders were saying that Kavitha would be arrested in the alleged liquor scam case, that seems to have gone into cold storage, provoking criticism and belief among people that the BJP has had an understanding with the BRS. That is why I returned to the Congress, to defeat KCR,” said Mr Reddy.
The Left parties which have been in talks with the Congress for seat-sharing, refused to react on whether Vivekanand returning to the Congress could spoil the understanding on seats.
It had been reported that the CPI was being offered two seats, Chennur and Kothagudem, and the CPM was being given two.
“We will wait for two days and then take a decision,” a senior leader said.
Vivek, 66, was elected Congress MP from Peddapalli in 2009 and lost the election in 2014. He has been in and out of the BRS and Congress twice and joined the BJP in August 2019 and is back in the Congress today.
The voting for the 119-member assembly will take place on November 30. The votes will be counted on December 3.