Former minister and veteran Congress leader Ponnala Lakshmaiah on Friday, October 13, announced his resignation from the grand old party blaming TPCC chief A Revanth Reddy and senior leadership of ‘irregularities’ in the candidates’ selection process.
The development comes just less than two months before the Telangana Assembly elections.Ponnala Lakshmaiah served in the Congress party for 40 years and held many important roles including being the first Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief. He served as a four-time MLA from the Jangaon Assembly.
According to reports, he resigned from the party because he was denied a ticket from the Jangaon Assembly constituency.
In a resignation letter addressed to AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge, Lakshmaiah said that since his ‘unceremonious removal’ from the TPCC chief post in 2015, the party hasn’t given him any responsibility in the last nine years. “I have raised my voice about these issues for nearly 9 years,” he added.
Lakshmaiah said that Congress put all the blame for the party’s loss in the first state elections held after Telangana’s formation despite the nationwide setback.
“Even in the 2018 elections, there was no significant progress, yet no corrective actions were taken. On the contrary additional positions were given,” he added.
Lakshmaiah further stated that senior leaders who stayed loyal to the party were sidelined for the sake of ‘newcomers’ and added that the party shifted from its core principles paving the way to ‘Individualism’.
“The Congress party, which I have tirelessly strived to promote, has seen a shift in its core ideology, Individualism seems to have taken precedence ser sur collective strength. Leaders like myself, who have deep roots in the party’s soil, have faced indignities, and newcomers are being unfairly elevated to power. The true-blue Congressmen and women seem to have become stranged within the party and are at risk of losing their existence,” he said.
Lakshmaiah said that he has “repeatedly sought the attention of the TPCC president over the last two years to discuss these party developments but has been met with a lack of acknowledgment and respect,” he said.
“The principles of social justice, which were once the bedrock of the Congress, are seemingly outdated now, with BCs comprising more than 50% of our society, being treated with disrespect and disregard,” he remarked.
The veteran Congress leader further said that the party’s candidate selection process, “which should ideally be driven by the principles of fairness and representation, has come under question.”
Lakshmaiah also said that he had to wait for ten days in Delhi to meet AICC general secretary K C Venugopal to discuss party concerns and called the experience ‘frustrating’.
“Allegations of irregularities further erode our party’s Integrity. It is deeply unfortunate that senior leaders like me have had to wait for months to discuss party concerns…” he said.
Lakshmaiah also alleged that a group of 50 BC leaders from the state who went to Delhi to request prioritisation for BCs, they were denied a meeting with AICC leaders.
“This is an embarrassment for the Telangana state that prides itself on self-respect,” he remarked.In a hint at joining the BRS, Lakshmaiah lauded the ruling party for recognising “even small BC laborers and grants them MP, MLC, and corporation positions, adding that “while our own PCC president, campaign committee chairman, former MPs, and working presidents are unable to secure an audience with the top leadership to discuss the concerns of Telangana’s Congress BC leaders.”
“We have penned impressive theories within the party, such as the Udaipur Declaration and Raipur Declaration promising to respect seniors and give preference to those who have worked diligently for the party.
However, today, tickets are distributed without any regard for party membership or contributions. Unfortunately, we rely on external consultants, often disregarding dedicated workers’ voices,” he said.