NEW DELHI: The Congress in Telangana suffered a setback ahead of crucial assembly elections as a senior leader, who was also the first president of the state unit, called it quits citing “unjust environment” within the party.
“I have reached a point where I feel that I can no longer thrive in such an unjust environment,” former minister of united Andhra Pradesh and senior Congress leader Ponnala Laxmaiah wrote in his resignation letter to party chief Mallikarjun Kharge.
Laxmaiah alleged that senior leaders were not being given due respect and recognition and there was favouritism within the party towards the newcomers. He mentioned two instances that left him deeply affected.

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“It is deeply unfortunate that senior leaders like me have had to wait for months to discuss party concerns, and I have personally experienced the frustration of waiting for ten days in Delhi to meet AICC general secretary KC Venugopal,” he wrote in the resignation letter.
Mentioning another such incident, he wrote: “When a group of 50 Backward Class (BC) leaders from Telangana went to Delhi to request prioritization for BCs, they were denied even a meeting with AICC leaders. This is an embarrassment for the Telangana state which prides itself on self-respect.”
Lakshmaiah also said that he was unfairly blamed for Congress defeat in Telangana in 2014 even though the party had faced nationwide setback during that time. Lakshmaiah was removed from the position of PCC president in 2015.
There are speculations that Lakshmaiah is likely to join the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS). While he said that he has not made any such decision as of now, he did praise the ruling party for giving recognition to even the smaller BC leaders and granting them MP, MLC and corporation positions.
Ironically, Lakshmaiah is not the first Congress leader to leave the party citing unfair treatment and humiliation at the hands of the central leadership. The grand old party has lost several leaders who had complained of similar neglect at the hands of party leadership.
This does not augur well for the party, which was decimated in the last assembly elections, and is hoping to make a comeback. The Congress had won just 19 seats with a vote share of 28.43% in 2018 assembly elections. The ruling BRS, which was then known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) had sweeped the polls winning 88 seats with a vote share of almost 47%.
However, this time around chief minister K Chandrashekhar Rao also faces a determined BJP, which made its mark in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Elections. The BJP, which could win only 1 seat in 2018 with a vote share of nearly 7% in the state, is determined to make gains and displace the Congress.

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