After much anticipation and speculation, YS Sharmila, the sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, officially joined the Congress on Thursday (4 January) as reported by Indian Express.
As the leader of the YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP), she also announced the merger of her party with the Congress, expressing her readiness to take on any responsibilities assigned to her within the party.
Sharmila, daughter of the late Andhra Pradesh CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), made the announcement in the presence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Rahul Gandhi.
Despite earlier talks about merging her party with the Congress before the Telangana Assembly elections in November of the previous year, the decision did not materialise.
The move to join the Congress comes after unsuccessful negotiations between Sharmila and her uncle, former YSRCP MP YV Subba Reddy. Reportedly, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had dispatched Subba Reddy as an emissary to convince Sharmila to join YSRCP.
The political divergence between the brother-sister duo began in July 2021 when Sharmila launched her political outfit in Telangana.
Both the YSRCP and the YSRTP were established with the shared goal of advancing YSR's legacy and reviving "Rajanna Rajyam" (YSR's governance).
Sharmila's entry into the Congress sets the stage for a potential electoral contest between siblings in the upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.
This development could have implications for the political fortunes of Jagan Mohan Reddy and the Congress, which has faced setbacks in the state since its bifurcation in 2014.
The report also states that the differences between Jagan and Sharmila emerged after their father died in 2009. Following Jagan's fallout with the Congress and the formation of YSRCP in 2011, he took charge of the party in Andhra Pradesh, while Sharmila became its national convener.
Sharmila, a year younger than Jagan, is married to Brother Anil Kumar, known for evangelical preaching in Andhra Pradesh.
After serving as the YSRCP's national convener without contesting elections, she launched the YSRTP in Telangana, engaging in confrontations with the K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR)-led government on various issues.
Despite her efforts, Sharmila failed to garner significant support in Telangana and faced controversy, including an incident where she assaulted a policeman on duty.
Earlier plans to merge her party with the Congress before the Telangana polls faced opposition from state leaders.
Bhuvan Krishna is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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