Hyderabad: N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, former Congress leader and chief minister of (the erstwhile state of) Andhra Pradesh (AP), who quit and deserted the party just before AP and Telangana were bifurcated in 2014 in protest against the division, is all set to return back to the Congress on 13 July. His return has been confirmed by senior party leaders, and comes after months of negotiation with the high command.
A senior Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) leader, who did not want to be named, said that Reddy is all set to join back in the presence of All India Congress Committee (AICC) president and MP Rahul Gandhi on 13 July in New Delhi. “His name was among the probable ones to return after quitting the party. He was perhaps negotiating to see if he can get any organizational post,” he added.
Reddy’s return to the Congress however may not be welcome by everyone within the party. The TPCC leader said that there will be a section which would have reservations about his joining back as the former chief minister had deserted the Congress at its most important hour. After he quit in 2014, several other leaders also left, mainly to the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), floated by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of former (joint) AP chief minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy and leader of the main opposition.
However, with the Congress being reduced to zero in the 2014 state and assembly elections, primarily due to public sentiment which blamed it for AP’s bifurcation, Reddy’s return comes as a positive for the party in AP, especially the exodus of its leaders to the YSRCP and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Congress is also looking to shake-off the blame for the state’s division, and hopes to get back some of its deposits (that it lost in the 2014 polls) in the coming 2019 state and assembly elections.
Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said that Kiran Kumar Reddyas of now has no other place to go. “The BJP today is a bad word and place to join in AP thanks to the special category status issue. And since other parties are not an option, he has returned to the Congress, where he can say that he had left for a cause. Kirane has done the right thing,” he opined.
Raghavendra Reddy stated that the development will also give the Congress space to say that leaders who deserted it before AP’s bifurcation in 2014 are now returning.