In a major political development, YS Sharmila, the daughter of former Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy and the founder of YSR Telangana Party, announced the merger of her party with the Congress on Thursday. She also joined the Congress in the presence of AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and former president Rahul Gandhi at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi.
Why did Sharmila merge her party with Congress?
Sharmila, who launched her party in April 2023 with the aim of reviving the legacy of her father in Telangana, decided to join hands with the Congress after realizing that her party had little scope to grow in the state where the ruling TRS and the opposition BJP are the main contenders. She also faced criticism from some quarters for being an outsider and a dynast.
Sharmila, who is the sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, said that she merged her party with the Congress as she felt that it was the only party that could fight for the rights and interests of the people of Telangana. She said that she was inspired by the ideology and vision of her father, who was a loyal Congress leader and a popular chief minister.
Sharmila also said that she was impressed by the leadership of Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, who welcomed her into the Congress family. She said that she would work hard to strengthen the party in Telangana and campaign for it in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. She also expressed her willingness to contest from any constituency as per the party’s decision.
How did the Congress react to Sharmila’s merger?
The Congress, which has been struggling to regain its lost ground in Telangana since the state’s formation in 2014, welcomed Sharmila’s merger as a boost to its prospects in the state. The party leaders said that Sharmila’s entry would attract the loyal followers of YSR, who still have a strong presence and influence in several constituencies in Telangana. They also said that Sharmila’s charisma and popularity would help the party to counter the TRS and the BJP, which have been trying to polarize the voters on regional and communal lines.
Kharge, who is also the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha, said that Sharmila’s merger was a historic moment for the Congress, which had a long association with the YSR family. He said that Sharmila was a brave and dynamic leader, who had the courage to take on the TRS government on various issues. He also praised her for undertaking a 3,800-km padayatra across Telangana to highlight the problems of the people.
Rahul Gandhi, who is the MP from Wayanad in Kerala, said that Sharmila’s merger was a sign of the Congress’s revival in Telangana, which was once its stronghold. He said that Sharmila had the potential to become a mass leader, who could inspire the youth and the women of the state. He also said that Sharmila had the vision to work for the development and welfare of Telangana, which was neglected by the TRS government.
How did the other parties react to Sharmila’s merger?
The TRS and the BJP, which are the main rivals of the Congress in Telangana, dismissed Sharmila’s merger as a desperate and opportunistic move. They said that Sharmila had failed to make any impact in the state politics with her party and had joined the Congress for her personal gains. They also said that Sharmila had betrayed the people of Telangana, who had rejected the Congress for its role in the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
The TRS, which is led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, said that Sharmila’s merger was a futile attempt to revive the Congress, which had lost its relevance and credibility in Telangana. The party leaders said that Sharmila had no base or support in the state and had joined the Congress to save her political career. They also said that Sharmila had no moral right to talk about the development and welfare of Telangana, as her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy was opposing the state’s interests on various issues.
The BJP, which is led by Union Minister G Kishan Reddy, said that Sharmila’s merger was a proof of the Congress’s bankruptcy and desperation in Telangana. The party leaders said that Sharmila had no ideology or vision for the state and had joined the Congress to serve her family’s interests. They also said that Sharmila had no respect for the sentiments and aspirations of the people of Telangana, as her father YSR was against the formation of the state.