In a sudden development, Ponnala Laxmaiah, Telangana Pradesh Congress President was removed from the party position by the All India Congress Committee, and the present working president and former minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has been appointed as President.
According to party sources here, the AICC president Sonia Gandhi has signed the orders appointing Uttam Kumar as TPCC chief. Uttam Kumar, who represents Huzurnagar constituency in the Legislative Assembly, is a former fighter pilot from Indian Air Force. He had also worked as Security chief at Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He has been elected to the Assembly twice from Kodad and twice from Huzurnagar.
Speculation was rife in the party's rank and file over the removal of Ponnala following the visit of AICC General Secretary and party in-charge Digvijay Singh in January this year. Senior leaders complained to the AICC functionaries about the ‘failure’ of Ponnala in the last general elections, as well as controlling the defections from the party to the ruling TRS in the state. They also reportedly informed the High Command that Ponnala failed to inspire the cadres and was unable to move critically on the TRS government on various issues. There was unhappiness among the cadre due to inefficient leadership, said a senior party leader.
It may be recalled that Ponnala is camping in Delhi for the past five days and making efforts to convince the High Command leaders to continue him in the past. He could not, however, meet the Congress President Sonia Gandhi.
Ponnala and Uttam Kumar Reddy were appointed as TPCC President and Working President, respectively, in February last year on the eve of the general elections.
Party sources at Delhi also indicated that the present CLP Secretary and former Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, a Dalit, would be appointed as Working President of the TPCC, in place of Uttam Kumar Reddy.