Amid talk of YSRTP’s likely merger with Congress, Sharmila greets Rahul

Hyderabad, June 19 (IANS) Amid the growing buzz about the likely merger of her YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) with the Congress, Y. S. Sharmila on Monday greeted Rahul Gandhi on his birthday.

The YSRTP leader extended birthday greetings to Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and wished him success in his “tireless endeavours dedicated to the cause of the people of the nation.”

“Wishing Shri Rahul Gandhiji a very happy and wonderful birthday. May you continue to inspire the people with your perseverance and patience, and serve them through your sincere efforts. Wishing you great health, happiness, and success in abundance,” tweeted Sharmila.

The birthday greetings come amid the growing buzz about the likely merger of YSRTP with Congress before Telangana Assembly elections scheduled later this year.

Sources confirmed that talks were on between Sharmila and Congress leaders for the merger deal. The YSRTP leader, daughter of former United Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), is said to be ready to merge the party.

“In return, the Congress will give her and a couple of her close supporters tickets to contest Telangana Assembly polls,” sources told IANS.

Sharmila, sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, has already declared that she will contest from Palair constituency in Khammam district. A couple of other YSRTP leaders are also likely to get Congress tickets.

An indication of merger or a possible alliance came when Sharmila met Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D. K. Shivakumar a couple of time since the Congress party stormed to power in the neighbouring state.

The latest meeting between the two was on May 29 in Bengaluru. She lauded Shivakumar for his role in Congress’ victory in Karnataka. The meeting was significant as Shivakumar is likely to play an active role in strengthening Congress in Telangana by forging alliances with smaller parties and also bringing back leaders who left the party in the past.

Shivakumar had close relations with the late YSR and his family. As Sharmila is banking on the legacy of YSR, who was a Congress stalwart, Congress leaders in Telangana see a common ground in joining hands with her.

Sharmila had also gone on record that her party was open for talks with anybody to defeat KCR-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in the upcoming elections.

She floated YSRTP in 2021 promising to bring back ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ in Telangana. ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ is a reference to the rule of YSR during which several revolutionary welfare measures for farmers and the poor were implemented.

YSR was the chief minister of United Andhra Pradesh from 2004 to 2009. He died in a helicopter crash a few months after leading the Congress party back to power.

After her brother Jagan Mohan Reddy quit Congress and floated YSR Congress Party, Sharmila along with her mother Vijayamma stood by him. When he was in jail in disproportionate assets case, Sharmila undertook padyatra to mobilise support for him. She actively campaigned for YSRCP in the 2014 and 2019 elections in Andhra Pradesh.

However, after Jagan Mohan Reddy became the chief minister following YSRCP’s landslide victory in 2019, she distanced herself from the party, reportedly due to differences with him.

While Jagan Mohan Reddy decided to confine his party to Andhra Pradesh, Sharmila charted her own course by floating YSR Telangana Party.

She undertook padyatra in Telangana to highlight failures of KCR government. She has covered a distance of 3,850 km.



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