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Telangana Assembly Election 2023: Former PCC Chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah quits Congress ahead of polls

Telangana Assembly Election 2023:Ponnala had worked as a minister under 5 CMs in united Andhra Pradesh. He held the irrigation portfolio in cabinet headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy. Lakshmaiah remained a minister under YSR’s successor Rosaiah and held IT portfolio in the govt of Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Edited By: Sheenu Sharma @20sheenu Hyderabad Published on: October 13, 2023 18:04 IST
Telangana Assembly Election 2023, Ponnala Lakshmaiah quits, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Ponnala Lakshmaiah n
Image Source : PONNALA LAKSHMAIAH (X) Ponnala Lakshmaiah

Telangana Assembly Election 2023: In a major setback to the Congress party in Telangana ahead of Assembly elections, former Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) and senior leader Ponnala Lakshmaiah sent a letter to All India Congress Committee (AICC) President Mallikarjun Kharge resigning from the party citing an unjust environment.

Ponnala resigned from the party today (October 13) alleging injustice to backward classes within the party. Ponnala in his letter alleged that when a group of 50 BC leaders from Telangana went to Delhi to request prioritisation for the backward classes, they were denied even a meeting with AICC leaders, which is an embarrassment for the state that prides itself on self-respect.

“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 said in the letter that was posted on a WhatsApp group to which he belongs.

Ponnala, who had served as a state minister in the undivided Andhra Pradesh, turned emotional while announcing his resignation before the media. He said he was snapping his 40-year-long association with the party as he was unable to bear the insult and ridicule he and other BC leaders were being subjected to in the party.

The senior leader stated that individualism seems to have taken precedence and newcomers are being unfairly elevated to power.

Allegations against Congress:

Ponnala alleged that when a group of 50 BC leaders from Telangana visited Delhi to request priority for BCs in allotment of tickets, they were denied a meeting with AICC leaders. He said he was denied an appointment for 10 days to meet AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal.

He also wrote that in 2014, he was unfairly blamed for the party’s 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,” reads the letter.

After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, Ponnala was appointed the first state president of the party in Telangana.

Know more about Ponnala Lakshmaiah:

Hailing from Munnur Kapu BC community, Ponnala hails from Jangaon district. He had worked as a minister under five chief ministers in united Andhra Pradesh. He held the irrigation portfolio in the cabinet headed by YS Rajasekhara Reddy. He remained a minister under YSR’s successor Rosaiah and held the information technology portfolio in the government of Kiran Kumar Reddy.

An MS from Oklahoma University, Ponnala worked in the US from 1969 to 1978. On his return, he joined the Congress party. He was first elected to Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Jangaon in 1989. He was later elected for three consecutive terms from the same constituency.

Ponnala, however, lost the election in 2014 and in 2018. He resigned after it became clear that the party may not give him a ticket this time. He is likely to join the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). He hinted this in his resignation letter by praising BRS for making even small BC leaders MPs and MLCs.

(With agencies inputs) 

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