As they face acid test for political survival, T’gana turncoats to look out for

Hyderabad: The prominent turncoats in Telangana are not only fighting for their own political future but are also carrying the hopes of the Congress party, which is in search of its first electoral victory in the state

With vast political experience and after fighting many electoral battles in different parties, they are going all out to prove their mettle once again.

Let us take a look at who they are and how they are faring in their respective constituencies.

Gaddam Vivekanand: The former MP quit the BJP to join the Congress on November 1. A few days later, the Congress fielded him from Chennur constituency in the undivided Adilabad district. He was the chairman of the BJP’s manifesto committee and one of the leaders the saffron party was relying on.

He is locked in a tough fight with the BRS candidate and sitting MLA Balka Suman, who had defeated him in the Peddapalli Lok Sabha constituency in 2014.

With declared movable and immovable assets of Rs.606.66 crore, Vivekanand is the richest candidate in the fray in Telangana.

The 66-year-old is the founder and chairman of Visaka Industries Ltd. Vivek, as he is popularly known, holds an MBBS degree from Osmania University. He is the son of Congress leader and former Union minister late G. Venkatswamy, who was elected as MP from Peddapalli for four terms.

Vivek was elected to the Lok Sabha from Peddapalli in 2009 on a Congress ticket. He later joined the BRS to put pressure on the Congress over the demand for statehood to Telangana.

After the Telangana bill was passed in Parliament in 2014, he returned to the Congress.

He went back to the BRS in 2016 and was appointed advisor to the state government. He quit the party in 2019 after he was denied a ticket in the Lok Sabha elections and switched loyalties to the BJP.

Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy: Returning to the Congress after a 15-month stay in the BJP, he secured a ticket for Munugode, much to the chagrin of several loyalists. He quit the Congress for the BJP in August last year, forcing a by-election but failed to retain the seat. One of the richest politicians in the state, he managed to get the ticket within hours after returning to the Congress.

He is once again pitted against Kusukuntla Prabhakar Reddy, who had defeated him in the by-election in November last year.

In the bitterly contested bypoll, the BRS wrested the seat with a narrow margin of 10,309 votes. Prabhakar Reddy polled 97,006 (42.95%) votes, Rajagopal Reddy secured 86,697 (38.38%) votes. The Congress party’s Palvai Sravanthi Reddy finished a distant third with 23,906 (10.58%) votes.

Rajagopal Reddy was elected in 2018 by defeating Prabhakar Reddy of the BRS by a margin of 22,457 votes. While Rajagopal Reddy polled 96,961 votes (50.51%), Prabhakar Reddy secured 74,504 votes (30.13%). The BJP’s G. Manohar Reddy was third with 12,704 votes (6.39%).

Rajagopal Reddy was also elected to the Lok Sabha from Bhongir in 2009, defeating his nearest rival Nomula Narsimaiah of the CPI (M) by a margin of nearly 1.40 lakh votes. He, however, lost the 2014 election from the same constituency to Burra Narsaiah of the BRS. He was later elected to the Telangana Legislative Council.

He and his brother and Congress MP from Bhongir, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy are seen as powerful leaders of undivided Nalgonda district.

Tummala Nageswara Rao: The former minister defected to the Congress after the BRS denied him a ticket.

A five-time MLA, who served as minister in both the undivided Andhra Pradesh and in Telangana, Nageswara Rao has been fielded from Khammam constituency. He is locked in a direct fight against transport minister Puvvada Ajay Kumar.

Tummala, who has been with the TDP since its inception in the early 1980s, had served as a minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh in the cabinets of N. T. Rama Rao and Chandrababu Naidu and later became a minister in Telangana’s first government.

He joined the BRS in 2014 after the formation of Telangana state and was made minister for roads and buildings in the first TRS government headed by KCR.

Tummala was elected to the Andhra Pradesh assembly from Sathupalli constituency in 1985, 1994 and 1999. After Sathupalli was reserved for SCs, he moved to Khammam constituency and later also tried his luck from Palair

Tummala was elected on a TRS ticket from Palair in the 2016 by-election. However, in 2018, he lost to Kandla Upender Reddy of the Congress.

As Upender Reddy too had defected to the TRS, the party decided to renominate him, dashing the hopes of Tummala who was an aspirant for the ticket.

Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy: He was one of the first key BRS leaders to defect to the Congress a few months ago. Suspended from the BRS for anti-party activities, he was toying with the idea of joining the BJP or floating a new outfit along with another suspended leader Jupally Krishna Rao. After the Congress stormed to power in Karnataka, he joined the Congress along with his supporters.

One of the richest politicians in the state, he is contesting from Palair constituency in Khammam district.

He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Khammam on a YSR Congress Party ticket in 2014 but later switched loyalties to the BRS. He was unhappy after the BRS denied him tickets for both the 2018 Assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In Palair, Srinivasa Reddy is challenging the BRS candidate and sitting MLA K. Upender Reddy. In 2018, Upender Reddy was elected on a Congress ticket but later defected to the BRS.

Jupally Krishna Rao: He too quit the BRS to join the Congress a few months ago. For Krishna Rao, who served as a minister in undivided Andhra Pradesh, it was a homecoming. The party rewarded him with the ticket for Kollapur constituency.

He had resigned from the Congress to join the BRS in 2011. He was elected from Kollapur constituency in Mahabubnagar district in 2014 on a BRS ticket. However, he felt sidelined in the BRS after MLA Harshvardhan Reddy, who had defeated him in the 2018 elections, switched loyalties from the Congress to the BRS after the polls.

Kollapur had been a stronghold of Jupally. He was first elected from here in 1999 as an independent candidate. He retained the seat in 2004 and 2009 as the Congress candidate.

After crossing over to the BRS, he retained the seat in the 2012 by-election and won the seat again in 2014. This time he is facing Harshvardhan Reddy again.

Revuri Prakash Reddy: He quit the BJP to join the Congress only a month ago and the party has fielded him from Parkal constituency in Warangal district.

Prakash Reddy, one of the last key leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana, had unsuccessfully contested from Warangal West in 2018. He joined the BJP in 2019.

Prakash Reddy, who has been associated with the TDP since the 1980s, was elected MLA thrice from Narsampet constituency. He had also served as a member of its politburo.

In Parkal, the 71-year-old is locked in a direct fight with BRS candidate Challa Dharma Reddy, who has been representing the seat since 2014. He was first elected on a Telugu Desam Party ticket but later switched loyalties to the TRS (now BRS)

In the 2018 elections, former minister Konda Surekha of the Congress was defeated by Dharma Reddy by over 46,000 votes.

Enugu Ravinder Reddy: He quit the BJP to join the Congress last month and the party rewarded him with the ticket from Banswada in Nizamabad district. He is facing the sitting BRS MLA and Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and Endala Laxminarayana of the BJP.

A three-time BRS MLA from Yellareddy, Ravinder Reddy was defeated in the 2018 elections by the Congress candidate.

In 2021, he quit the BRS to join the BJP along with former minister Eatala Rajender. Upset over the Banswada ticket to Ravinder Reddy, Congress leader Kasula Balaraju attempted suicide. He had contested the 2014 and 2018 elections as the Congress candidate but lost to Pocharam Srinivas Reddy.

Mynampalli Hanumanth Rao: He quit the BRS and joined the Congress recently on the condition that the party will give tickets to him and his son Mynampallu Rohith Rao from Malkajgiri and Medak respectively.

Even after BRS supremo KCR retained him as the BRS candidate from Malkajgiri, Hanumanth Rao walked out of the party as his son was denied a ticket.

The BRS named Marri Rajasekhar Reddy as its replacement for Hanumanth Rao. The son-in-law of labour minister and leading businessman Malla Reddy, Rajasekhar Reddy is set to give a tough fight to the sitting MLA. He had narrowly lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Malkajgiri constituency to Congress leader A. Revanth Reddy.

Hanumanth Rao was with the TDP before joining the TRS. He was elected as MLA from Ramayampet and Medak constituencies. After joining the TRS, he contributed to strengthening the party in Greater Hyderabad and the undivided Medak district.

Hanumanth Rao had contested the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Malkajgiri as the TRS candidate but suffered defeat at the hands of Malla Reddy, who was elected on a TDP ticket. Later, Malla Reddy joined the BRS.

The BRS fielded Hanumanth Rao in 2018 from Malkajgiri Assembly constituency and it proved a cakewalk for him as he trounced Ramchander Rao of the BJP by a margin of over 73,000 votes.


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