Better late than never? That might be the case for BJP national vice-president D K Aruna, 63, in Telangana. With months to go for fresh Assembly elections in the state, she gets to be an MLA, after the Telangana High Court on August 24 declared her the winner from the Gadwal Assembly constituency, removing Bandla Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
The court disqualified Reddy on the ground that he had concealed details of properties owned and loans taken, in his 2018 election affidavit.
Aruna had filed the petition immediately after the elections, alleging that Reddy had filed a false affidavit. On Friday morning, she submitted a copy of the court judgment declaring her MLA from Gadwal to the Assembly Speaker and the Legislative Secretary.
After the verdict, Reddy claimed he had done nothing wrong. “In the coming election, I will again emerge as the winner,” he said.
Aruna comes from a family of politicians. Her father Chitlem Narsi Reddy was once a Janata Party (later of the Janata Dal) MLA from Makthal, before joining the Congress. Her brother Chittem Ram Mohan Reddy won on a Congress ticket from Makthal in 2014, but switched loyalties to the BRS and won on its ticket in 2018. On August 15, 2005, Maoists attacked an Independence Day event at Narayanpet and shot dead Aruna’s father Chittem Narsi Reddy, who was then a Congress MLA, and her brother C Venkateshwar Reddy.
The Gadwal Assembly constituency was represented by Aruna’s father-in-law D K Satya Reddy of the Congress in 1957, 1978 and 1980, and by her brother-in-law D K Samara Simha Reddy, also of the Congress, in 1989 and 1994.
A three-time MLA from Gadwal, Aruna was close to the late Y S Rajashekara Reddy, who had brought her into the Congress in 2004. Her brother Chittem Ram Mohan Reddy is a BRS legislator from Makthal.
In 2004, she won from the constituency on a Samajwadi Party ticket. Within a few months, she joined the Congress, and YSR made her the Information and Public Relations (I&PR) Minister in his Cabinet. In 2009, she won again, this time on a Congress ticket. After YSR’s demise in a chopper crash, she was appointed Minister of Small Scale Industries in K Rosaiah’s Cabinet in October 2009, and was in the seat till November 2010, when Rosaiah resigned. In N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Cabinet, she was again made I&PR Minister, until he resigned ahead of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh to create the separate state of Telangana.
In 2014, the first election after Telangana was created, Aruna won comfortably on a Congress ticket, defeating Bandla Krishna Mohan Reddy of the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (now BRS). However, she lost to him in the December 2018 elections whose result has now been overturned.
If Aruna is sworn in, she will become the fourth BJP MLA in the Telangana Assembly. At present, M Raghunandan Rao (Dubbak); Etela Rajender (Huzurabad), T Raja Singh (Goshamahal; although the BJP has suspended him), are the BJP MLAs in the state.
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