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YSR Telangana Party Chief Sharmila Join Hands With Congress Ahead 2024 Elections

Following months of conjecture, Y S Sharmila, the leader of YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) and sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, officially joined the Congress on Thursday.

She also declared that her party would combine with the Congress and vowed to perform any obligations placed upon her. Addressing reporters after joining, she said: “Congress party is still the largest secular party of our country and it has always upheld the true culture of India and built foundations of our nation.” In the presence of senior leader Rahul Gandhi and Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge, she became a member of the party.

Prior to the November 2018 Telangana Assembly elections, there were discussions of Sharmila combining her group with the historic party, but those talks never came to pass. She refrained from voting, nevertheless, saying that she “did not want her candidates to split pro-Congress votes.”

After negotiations between herself and her uncle, former YSRCP MP Y V Subba Reddy, broke down, Sharmila, the daughter of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), has now made the decision to go ahead. According to sources, Jagan feared that if his sister entered the state’s political scene, it would negatively impact his reputation and power, therefore he dispatched Subba Reddy as his envoy to persuade Sharmila to join the YSRCP.

After Sharmila founded her outfit in Telangana in July 2021, the brother-sister political combo broke apart. The declared goals of the YSRCP and YSRTP are to carry on YSR’s legacy and restore “Rajanna Rajyam,” or YSR’s government.

With the YSRTP chief joining the Congress, the stage is probably set for a brother-sister contest in the state’s upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. This could impact Jagan’s future as well as that of the grand old party, which has been completely destroyed in the state since splitting in 2014.

Following the death of their father in 2009, Jagan and Sharmila have not agreed on a number of topics, according to people close to the YSR family. Following his split from the Congress, which resulted in the YSRCP’s establishment in 2011, Jagan oversaw the party’s operations throughout Andhra Pradesh, with his sister serving as its national convener.

Sharmila is married to Brother Anil Kumar, an Andhra Pradesh-based evangelist preacher, and is a year younger than 51-year-old Jagan. Following YSR’s passing, Kumar paused his preaching, but he picked it back up in 2010. When he got along with renowned director Ram Gopal Varma to work on an anti-TDP film, he further courted controversy.

With her mother Y S Vijayamma at her side, Sharmila founded the YSRTP in Telangana following her tenure as the YSRCP’s national convener, during which time she refrained from running for office. She challenged the BRS government, led by K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR), on a number of topics, leading to multiple detentions by the Telangana police.

However, she failed to capture the voters’ imagination in Telangana, parts of which have a strong connection to her father, like her brother managed to in Andhra Pradesh. She recently also courted controversy after assaulting a policeman on duty. Her plans to merge her party with the Congress ahead of the Telangana polls hit a roadblock after state leaders objected to it there.

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