Soon after the resignation of Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy from the Congress and the Telangana Assembly, the party began efforts to formulate a strategy to defeat him in the by-election.
Acting swiftly, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) formed a seven-member strategy and campaign committee for Munugode constituency.
Senior leader Madhu Yashki Goud has been named as the convenor of the committee, and Ramreddy Damodar Reddy, Balram Naik, Danasari Anasuya, Anjan Kumar Yadav, S. A. Sampath Kumar and E. Anil Kumar are the members.
Congress in charge for Telangana, B. Manickam Tagore constituted the committee hours after Rajagopal Reddy announced his resignation.
Rajagopal Reddy said he would soon meet Assembly Speaker to submit his resignation. This would vacate the Assembly seat, won by him in 2018 elections.
He is likely to join the BJP and contest the by-election as the candidate of the saffron party.
The by-election will be crucial for Congress, which is desperate to regain the lost ground in the state.
Though Rajagopal Reddy’s resignation is not unexpected, it came as yet another blow to Congress.
In 2018 elections, the Congress had won 19 seats in 119-member Assembly. A few months after the polls, a dozen MLAs had switched loyalties to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The opposition party received another setback when it failed to retain Huzurnagar Assembly seat in by-election caused by the resignation of Uttam Kumar Reddy following his election to Lok Sabha in 2019 polls.
Rajagopal Reddy had raised the banner of revolt after 2019 elections with his statement that only the BJP is capable of defeating the TRS.
He had not made up his mind to switch loyalties but was staying away from Congress activities.
Rajagopal Reddy’s resignation brought down the strength of Congress party in the Assembly to five. The party had already lost the status of main opposition to All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), which has seven MLAs.
The Congress, which lost all Assembly by-elections during the last three years, is facing an uphill task in defeating Rajagopal Reddy in the by-election.
Taking strong exception to Rajagopal Reddy’s open attacks, the Congress leadership has asked him to either stay in the party or quit. After his resignation, Manickam Tagore called him a betrayer.
The Congress in charge called upon people of Munugode constituency and Congress workers to teach the betrayer a lesson.
Political analysts say Munugode by-election will be crucial for Congress as the BJP is upbeat after winning two Assembly by-elections during last two years.
Claiming to be the only viable alternative to the TRS, it is already working aggressively towards its goal of capturing power in 2023.
Munugode by-election, however, will give another chance to the Congress to bounce back.