New Delhi, Four years after quitting the Congress party, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy on Friday rejoined the party.
Mr, Reddy, the last Chief Minister of united Andhra Pradesh joined the party at the AICC headquarters in the presence of AICC general secretary in-charge and former Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, APCC president Raghuveera Reddy, AICC communications in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala and other leaders from Andhra Pradesh.
In February 2014, Mr Reddy resigned as Chief Minister and quit the party, protesting against the bifurcation of Anndra Prdesh, and formed the Jai Samaikya Andhra Party. Though Mr Reddy and other leaders of his new outfit contested polls in 2014, he failed to make any impact.
Like Mr Reddy’s party, the Congress too was routed in Andhra Pradesh in the last assembly and Lok Sabha polls, bagging just 22 and two seats respectively.
Mr Reddy succeeded K Rosaiah as Chief Minister in 2011, after he stepped down citing personal reasons. Mr Rosaiah became Chief Minister after the death of Rajasekhara Reddy in a helicopter crash in 2009.
Before announcing his return to the party, Mr Reddy met Congress President Rahul Gandhi in the morning here. “Mr Gandhi welcomed the former Andhra Chief Minister to the party and said his coming back will strengthen the party in the Southern state”, said Mr Surjewala.
Mr Chandy, who has given the charge of affairs in the Andhra Pradesh a month ago also welcomed Mr Reddy and said he did many things for the state, especially for the SC/ST community. “His presence will strengthen the party in Andhra”, Mr Chandy said.
Mr Reddy said that he is very happy coming back to the Congress party, and added “I cannot be separated from the party”. “Myself and my father were MLAs for eight times. Whatever posts I have held in the past, is because of the party”, said Mr Reddy.
He further said that he feels under the present circumstances, the Congress and hands of Rahul Gandhi should be strengthened.
Responding to a question about his departure from the Congress party, Mr Reddy said, “whatever happened has happened. Now we are concentrating on the future of the Congress party in the state”
Taking on the Narendra Modi government, Mr Reddy accused that “in spite of four years, BJP government has failed to implement the Special Category Status for Andhra Pradesh, an assurance given in the House”
Mr Surjewala also added that the Congress party and Mr Gandhi are committed to the people of Andhra Pradesh to grant Special Category Status to the state. “All promises made to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during bifurcation should be fulfilled”, said Mr Surjewala.
According to party leaders, to strengthen the Congress in the Southern state, which it ruled four years ago, the party is trying to bring its leaders back into the party.
Efforts to bring Mr Reddy back into the Congress began two months back, and finally saw results after the appointment of Mr Chandy as in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, sources added.
Sources also said, Mr Chandy is in touch with other leaders, like Konathala Ramakrishna and Harsha Kumar, who left the Congress along with Mr Reddy, and efforts are on to bring them back to the party.