Is Congress fancying Komatireddy Venkat Reddy against his brother in Munugode?

Is the Congress fancying the thought of pitting the older brother against the younger, who has just deserted it, in Munugode?

Komatireddy Venkat Reddy

Komatireddy Venkat Reddy

MUNUGODE: Is the Congress party fancying the thought of pitting the older brother against the younger, who has just deserted it, in Munugode? Well, there are murmurs for sure, if not loud calls, to this effect in some sections of the Telangana Congress.

Stung by the exit of Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, the grand-old party is not only sulking and seething in anger by the betrayal but it is also determined to win the do-or-die battle in Munugode at all costs. But Rajgopal Reddy embracing the BJP and eyeing a re-election has swung the political dynamics. With a formidable TRS making rapid strides in stealth mode on the ground, the Telangana Congress and the TPCC chief Revanth Reddy have a Herculean task on hand.

Realising the tight fight here, a few Congressmen were reported to have pitched the idea of pitting Komatireddy Venkat Reddy against his younger brother Rajgopal Reddy. These leaders were reliably learnt to have sold the plan to the Congress high command as the only viable option to reclaim Munugode or to at least put up a stiff fight, in the worst-case scenario. Some of the seasoned veterans are reportedly of the view that Komatireddy Venkat Reddy was the obvious choice for strategic reasons as the battle between the siblings will spice up the whole contest.

Interestingly, Venkat Reddy too appears mellowed down in his belligerence ever since his return from Delhi. He now wears the 'warrior-at-peace' countenance, a change that his partymen are noticing in him post his meeting with Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the new incharge of party's Telangana affairs. To the delight of the Congressmen in Munugode, he even announced his battle-readiness to shoulder the party's campaign in the by-election. Perhaps, he is still the same proverbial 'cat on the hot tin roof' when it comes to the party's candidate for this critical fight. Like a 'disciplined again' party worker, he parroted the clichéd line that the nominee selection would be as per the decision of Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

In fact, the senior Komatireddy's name had already cropped up in the immediate aftermath of Rajgopal Reddy's resignation. But the plan fizzled out soon after the Revanth Reddy-Venkat Reddy spat took the issue off on a different tangent.

Since the time his brother quit the party and as Munugode legislator to impose the by-election, Venkat Reddy looked a different personality altogether, both with his utterances and in style of working. He remained tightlipped on his brother's exit and eluded the media like an eel when asked about his possible contest.

But, in an apparent diversionary tactic, he upped the ante of his animosity towards Revanth Reddy with a high-decibel attack. Coincidence or an act of instigation, Venkat Reddy too met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on the very day his brother Rajgopal Reddy called on the BJP strongman in Delhi. It was speculated then that the Bhongir MP was only yearning to be evicted from the party in the form of a suspension or an expulsion. A bit of retaliatory fire from leaders like Addanki Dayakar and Revanth Reddy almost gave Venkat Reddy a reason to run away.

But the Congress high command acted quick and in time to ensure that the pendulum of sympathy did not swing away from it. Unconditional apologies from both Dayakar and Revanth Reddy once again left Venkat Reddy straight-jacketed, forcing him to wait for another day with another grouse.

The latest intervention by the Congress high command in placating the senior Komatireddy revives the party's hopes locally in Munugode. Despite its own doubts and premonitions, the party cadre will certainly welcome Venkat Reddy's assurance to campaign for Congress candidate's victory in the by-election, even if it was meant only for the public consumption.

But, for some of the seniors, the real deal lies in getting Venkat Reddy to throw his hat into the by-poll fray. They insist with the party high command that there was no better choice than the Bhongir MP himself to take on his younger brother in the district. The leadership may echo the same on his candidature but it is circumspect about pushing Venkat Reddy too hard on this matter. The party is worried that any pressure on electoral fight against his own brother might force the MP back into the cocoon which can only put spokes in the party's already fragile strategy for Munugode.

For now, the party, both in Telangana and Delhi, is breathing easy, having persuaded Venkat Reddy to campaign, to say the least, for its by-election candidate. This, in itself, is a major consolation, if not a success, as Venkat Reddy staying away from campaign would also mean complete alienation of the Komatireddy family clout, which can have a more disastrous impact on its prospects.

His name however is not entirely ruled out as of this point which points to the possibility of keeping the window of further persuasion open till the last minute. Besides Venkat Reddy, the party high command is also believed to be considering four other names, of which Palvai Shravanti, the daughter of party veteran Palvai Goverdhan Reddy, appears to be the frontrunner.

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