Sharmila eyes key post in Congress, 15 Assembly tickets

During the hearing, a bench of Justices B.V. Nagarathna and Ujjal Bhuyan was apprised by senior advocate Sidharth Luthra that convicts have approached the trial court in Mumbai and have deposited the fine imposed upon them.

Hyderabad: YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) chief Y. S. Sharmila, who met senior Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi on Thursday, expects a key position and 15 Assembly tickets in return for the merger with the Congress.

During the meeting with Gandhis, she discussed wide-ranging issues related to Telangana politics and placed before them what she expected from the party leadership.

Sharmila, daughter of Congress leader and former chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh late Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), is said to be keen to get the position of Congress General Secretary.

Sharmila, who has already announced her intention to contest the Assembly election from Palair constituency in Telangana’s Khammam district, wants the party to give tickets to her nominees for at least 15 constituencies.

“She will now wait for a response from the Congress high command and depending on the further talks the modalities for the merger will be worked out,” a source in YSRTP told IANS.

The YSRTP leader had detailed discussion with Rahul Gandhi on the Telangana politics. Sonia Gandhi later joined them. After the meeting, Sharmila told media persons that she discussed with them issues related to Telangana.

“As the daughter of YSR, I will continue to make relentless efforts to serve people of Telangana,” she said.

Sharmila also remarked that the countdown has started for KCR government.

She, however, did not answer questions as to when the merger will happen.

Sharmila’s camp sees the meeting with the top leaders as a big achievement. “They had very good interaction. The meeting was an ice-breaker,” a leader, who did not want to be identified, told IANS.

Sharmila is sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, who had who had raised a banner of revolt against the Gandhi family and floated YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) in 2010, a year after the tragic death of their father YSR in a helicopter crash.

Jagan Mohan Reddy was then backed by Sharmila and their mother Y. S. Vijayamma.

The mother-daughter duo had also campaigned actively for the YSRCP in 2019 elections in Andhra Pradesh. However, differences cropped up after the YSRCP stormed to power in the neighbouring state with a huge majority.

While Jagan decided to confine himself to Andhra Pradesh politics, Sharmila entered the politics in Telangana by floating the YSRTP in 2021.

Calling herself daughter-in-law of Telangana, Sharmila undertook state-wide padyatra, promising to bring back ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ in Telangana. ‘Rajanna Rajyam’ is an euphemism for the rule of YSR in the undivided Andhra Pradesh between 2004 and 2009.

The popular leader had launched many revolutionary welfare schemes for farmers and poor. YSR died in a helicopter crash on September 2, 2009, a few months after he led Congress to another victory.

“The Gandhi family is still recognises the role played by YSR in the huge success of the party in the united Andhra Pradesh in 2004 and his contribution to formation of Congress-led UPA government at the Centre,” a YSRTP leader said.

Several Congress leaders in Telangana believe that as daughter of YSR, Sharmila will prove an asset for the party.

The leaders who worked with YSR are of the view that if Sharmila does not join the Congress and YSRTP fields its candidates, it may hurt the prospects of Congress.

After the Congress victory in Karnataka, there was a growing feeling within party’s Telangana unit that it should invite Sharmila to bolster its prospects.

A section of leaders feel that even if the YSRTP polls 2,000 to 5,000 votes in few constituencies, this could dent the prospects of the Congress.

Elections to 119-member Assembly are slated to be held in November-December this year. The talk of merger began after Sharmila had couple of meetings with Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister D. K. Shivakumar, with whom the YSR family has close friendship.

Sharmila had visited Delhi on August 11 and held talks with Congress General Secretary K. C. Venugopal. Sharmila made it clear to the Congress that she is not interested in Andhra Pradesh politics and that she will confine herself to Telangana.

She recently denied receiving any proposal for the Congress Rajya Sabha ticket from Karnataka.

She made it clear that she is committed to the cause of Telangana and would continue to fight for the people of the region. “I was always in Telangana and will be in Telangana till my last breath. I request speculators to stop making paper plans about my future and instead write about the issues pertaining to the people of my state Telangana and highlight the misrule and massive corruption of KCR, his family and his party members,” Sharmila had said adding her future lay in Telangana and with its people.

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