- Sharmila from 2 seats
PNS | Hyderabad
YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP), headed by Y. S. Sharmila, is set to contest the next month’s Assembly elections in Telangana as its merger with the Congress is now ruled out. Sharmila has called for a meeting of YSRTP leaders in Hyderabad on Thursday to take a decision on the number of seats to contest and chalk out election strategy. The party is likely to contest 100 out of 119 Assembly seats in Telangana. Sharmila, the daughter of Congress leader and former Chief Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), may contest from two seats – Paleru and Miryalaguda. Her mother Y.S. Vijayamma is also likely to enter the fray from Secunderabad.
The YSRTP took the decision to go alone after the Congress leadership insisted that Sharmila take up the responsibility of leading the party in Andhra Pradesh, where her brother Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is the Chief Minister.
Sharmila made it clear to the Congress leadership that she will not go to Andhra Pradesh as she is determined to build her political career in Telangana. Differing with her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy, who was not in favour of entering Telangana politics, Shamrila had floated the YSRTP in 2021. A bitter critic of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, she had also undertaken padyatra in the state.
The talk of YSRTP’s merger with the Congress had started in May after Congress victory in Karnataka elections. Sharmila, who had met Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on August 31, had reportedly demanded a key position in the party and 15 Assembly tickets in return for the merger. She was reportedly keen to get the position of AICC General Secretary.
Earlier, Sharmila had a couple of meetings with Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D. K. Shivakumar, with whom the YSR family has close friendship. Sharmila had also held talks with Congress General Secretary K.C. Venugopal. However, there was no progress in the merger talks even after her meeting with Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Telangana state Congress president A. Revanth Reddy was reportedly not in favour of Sharmila’s entry into the party’s Telangana unit. He had suggested to the leadership to send her to Andhra Pradesh. Sources say several Congress leaders in Telangana were in favour of the merger as they believed that YSR’s legacy will benefit the party in the elections.