Former TPCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah resigns from Congress party

He reportedly resigned from the Congress party because he was denied ticket to contest from Jangaon Assembly seat

Former TPCC president Ponnala Lakshmaiah resigns from Congress party

HYDERABAD: Another jolt to the Congress party, Former TPCC president and Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah resigned from the Congress party on Friday. He reportedly resigned from the Congress party because he was denied ticket to contest from Jangaon Assembly seat. He is likely to join the Bharath Rashtra Samithi(BRS) party.

In a letter written to AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge on Friday, Ponnala Lakshmaiah said that despite being a senior leader, he was made to wait months for an appointment to discuss party concerns. He further said that he had to wait 10 days in Delhi to meet AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal, and that he was not granted even a minute of his time.

Ponnala Lakshmaiah also alleged that a group of 50 Telangana-based BC leaders went to Delhi and sought prioritisation for BCs but were denied a meeting with AICC leaders, causing embarrassment for the Telengana State, which prides itself on self-respect.

Ponnala Lakshmaiah expressed sadness in a media address, stating that the situation arose after his 45-year association with the Congress party.

"After working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and even though there was scope to grow further, I quit the high-paying job to enter politics to serve the poor and downtrodden,'' said the former TPCC president.

Ponnala Lakshmaiah said, "Over the years, I have held several posts from an active party worker to becoming the first PCC President of Telangana State. I have served as an MLA for four terms, worked tirelessly as a minister for 12 years and as the first PCC President of Telangana with passion and commitment, I can genuinely say that some of the happiest moments of my political career have been within the Congress party.

"However, the recent political developments within our party have left me deeply concerned. I was unceremoniously removed from the position of PCC President in 2015 and have since raised my voice about these issues for nearly nine years. Now I am being humiliated, and nobody listens to the experienced and senior leader. Backwards classes (BC's) were also being ignored in the party. Hence, I decided to resign from the Congress party," he added.

Ponnala Lakshmaiah further said, "In 2014, I was unfairly blamed for the defeat in Telangana, despite the party's 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. The Congress party, which I have tirelessly strived to promote, has seen a shift in its core ideology. Individualism seems to have taken precedence over our collective strength. Leaders like myself, who have deep roots in the party's sail, have faced indignities, and newcomers are being unfairly elevated to power.

"The true-blue Congressmen and women seem to have become estranged within the party and are at risk of losing their existence. I have repeatedly sought the attention of the PCC President over the last two years to discuss these party developments. Regrettably, such attempts have been met with a lack of acknowledgment and respect. The principles of social justice, which were once the bedrock of the Congress, are seemingly outdated now, with BCs, comprising more than 50 percent of our society, being treated with disrespect and disregard. The party's candidate selection process, which should ideally be driven by the principles of fairness and representation, has come under question. Allegations of irregularities further erode our party's integrity, he added

Ponnala Lakshmaiah's letter further reads, "If BC leaders are made to feel insignificant and secondary, it jeopardizes not only their self-esteem but also the party's reputation. In contrast, the ruling BRS party recognizes even small BC laborers and grants them MP, MLC, and corporation positions, 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. It is with a heavy heart that I announce my decision to discontinue my association with the party. I have reached a point where I feel that I can no longer thrive in such an unjust environment. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all those who have supported me in my various party roles over the years, " he added.

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