A bitter battle over the ownership of YSR's legacy looks imminent in Telangana between T- Congress and Sharmila, daughter of late chief minister of united Andhra Pradesh YS Rajasekhar Reddy.

Sharmila created ripples among political circles and the aspiring middle class when she apparently made her intent to float a political party in Telangana.

Much to political observers' surprise, she declared that the new party would strive to establish Rajanna Rajyam (Rule of YS Rajasekhar Reddy) in Telangana.

Can T-Congress prevent Sharmila from appropriating the YSR legacy from the party?

Reliable sources said Congress high-command has zeroed in on Malkajgiri MP A Reventh Reddy to stop Sharmila walk away with the YSR legacy. An announcement is expected after the on-going MLC elections.

In fact, for the past seven years, there has been an undeclared ban on Andhra political leaders and Andhra Parties in Telangana. KCR and his men used this to make Andhra politicians untouchables in Telangana. As recently as 2018, KCR used the blunt edge of this tool to scuttle Chandrababu Naidu's attempt to re-enter Telangana.

Now, the daughter of KCR's arch-rival announced that she would also launch a party and bring back YSR's rule in Telangana. Still, KCR, the principal victim of the then Rajanna Rajyam, has been silent.

This caused more consternation among the Telangana Congress leaders than others. Congress believes that YSR was the architect of present-day Hyderabad, and the party alone has the right over YSR legacy.

Whatever is happening post-Telangana in Hyderabad, the party feels is supported by the foundations laid by YSR in the form of ORR, International airport, Hyderabad Metro, Decentralisation of Hitech city, etc.

By whipping up fierce anti-Andhra sentiment, Chief Minister KCR successfully disarmed Telangana Congress of its effective tool called YSR legacy.

Now, since Sharmila is all set to use the legacy of YSR as a launchpad for her party, Congress high- command has reportedly asked the T-Cong leaders to prevent Sharmila monopolize it.

Allowing Sharmila to walk away with the YSR legacy would deal a death blow to the Congress party, and the party thinks this could well be prevented by Revanth alone.

Many political observers admit that there is enough space in Telangana for a new party. A large section of the growing aspirational middle class that fuelled the separate state movement has been unhappy with TRS as it could not accommodate them in the political power structure.

All those disillusioned with TRS are expected to flock to Sharmila with the hope of fulfilling their political dreams. Since migrations from Congress also cannot be ruled out, the party is also worried.

As per the indications from the party, the high command is convinced of the mass appeal of Revanth Reddy across the state.

Interestingly, Congress leadership has reportedly set aside the idea of experimenting with OBC or Dalit leader as PCC president for the time being, given the emerging political scenario in the state.

The leadership's immediate objective is to stop the further erosion of the party, said a senior leader.

Though social justice is the party's guiding principle, Congress cannot afford to lose sight of the looming threat from Sharmila, he added. According to him, it's not the time for an experiment, he added.

The high-command, according to sources, does not want to attach much importance to the criticism ranged against Revanth that he was from the Telugu Desam Party.

"Nana Patole, a former BJP MP, who is recently appointed Maharashtra PCC President and Siddaramaiah, who led the party in Karnataka, were also from other parties. The same was the case with Sankarsingh Waghela of Gujarat. Waghela was a BJP leader," he argued in Revanth's defence.

The fact that the high command allowed Revanth Reddy to launch Rajiv Rythu Bharosa Yatra in three districts is a clear signal to other aspirants in the fray for the PCC chief's post.

Revanth was even allowed to call on Rakesh Tikait on February 19 at the Ghazipur border, where he briefed him about his Rythu Bharosa Yatra and "anti-farmer policies" of the KCR government.

Revanth is said to have convinced Tikait of the need to address a farmers rally in Telangana.

His aides said the Malkajgiri MP is planning the next round of Rajiv Rythu Bharosa Yatra after the parliament's budget session with blessings from 24 Akbar Road.


Jinka Nagaraju

Jinka Nagaraju is a Hyderabad based journalist. He covered the entire spectrum of political activities of Telugu states from Hyderabad and New Delhi for about 3 decades. He represented Vaartha in New Delhi during the most happening decade of 1996-2006. He was the political correspondent of Times of India from Hyderabad for 10 years. He was editor of Asianet's Telugu digital platform.

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