Former Telangana minister Eatala Rajender on Monday joined opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He along with his followers joined the party in New Delhi in the presence of central minister Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP’s incharge for Telangana Tarun Chug, union minister of state G. Kishan Reddy, BJP national vice president D.K. Aruna and state BJP chief Bandi Sanjay.
Along with Rajender, former MP Ramesh Rathod, former MLA Ravinder Reddy, former Zilla Parishad chairperson of Karimnagar district T. Uma, TSRTC employees’ union leader Ashwathama Reddy and some leaders of Osmania University Student’s Joint Action Committee (JAC) also joined the BJP.
Pradhan welcomed Rajender into the party by offering him membership and party ‘kandva’. Speaking on the occasion, the central minister said, Rajender has a special place in Telangana politics.
Pradhan said whenever elections are held in Telangana, BJP is sure to form the government. He said after Karnataka, Telangana would become the second state in the South to have BJP government.
Rajender said he and his followers would try to live up to the expectations of the BJP leadership by strengthening the party in the state. He predicted that many more leaders from all districts in the state would join the BJP in coming days.
Bandi Sanjay recalled that Rajender played a key role in Telangana movement. He said the former minister has come from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) which is run in an autocratic style.
The BJP state chief claimed that only BJP can defeat the TRS. He said BJP has become a platform of leaders who participated in the Telangana movement.
Rajender was dropped from Telangana Cabinet by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao early last month following allegations that he encroached lands of farmers in Medak district for a poultry unit run by his family. He was handling the health portfolio.
The TRS government also ordered two more inquiries against Rajender and his followers for allegedly encroaching endowment lands in Medchal Malkajgiri district.
Rajender later ended his nearly two decade old association with the TRS and last week also resigned from the State Assembly.
He was one of the founding members of TRS floated by Chandrasekhar Rao in 2001 to revive the movement for statehood to Telangana.
Rajender, a four-time MLA, had led TRS in the Assembly of undivided Andhra Pradesh.
He served as finance minister in the first TRS government (2014-2018). After TRS retained the power in 2018, Rajender was made health minister.
His resignation from Huzurabad Assembly constituency will lead to a by-election and he plans to contest as BJP candidate this time.
Rajender has been representing Huzurabad constituency since 2009.