Telangana polls: Vijayashanthi quits BJP, likely to rejoin Congress, say sources
The former MP is likely to join the Congress on Friday in the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, becoming the fourth key leader to quit the BJP in less than a month
In yet another big blow to the BJP just two weeks before the Telangana assembly elections, veteran actor and the party's national executive member M Vijayashanthi resigned from the party on Wednesday. If sources are to be believed, she is likely to join the Congress in a day or two.
Vijayashanthi, who had not been actively participating in party activities for the last few months, sent her resignation to state BJP chief G Kishan Reddy. The former MP is likely to join the Congress on Friday in the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, becoming the fourth key leader to quit the BJP in less than a month.
Former MPs Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy and G Vivekanand, and another leader Enugu Ravinder quit the BJP, with Rajagopal Reddy and Vivekanand joining the Congress.
Polling for the 119-member Telangana assembly is scheduled for 30 November and counting of votes will be held on 3 December.
It was in December 2020 that Vijayashanthi returned to the BJP after 15 years. Popular as 'Lady Amitabh' for her action roles in Telugu films, Vijayashanthi had joined the BJP in 1997 and served as general secretary of the party’s women’s wing.
She quit the BJP in 2005 to float a separate outfit called Talli Telangana, to fight for separate statehood for Telangana. She later merged Talli Telangana with TRS (now BRS) and was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Medak constituency in 2009.
In August 2013, a few months before the formation of Telangana, TRS suspended Vijayashanthi for anti-party activities. She later joined the Congress and unsuccessfully contested from the Medak assembly constituency in the 2014 polls.
After lying low for four years, Vijayashanthi again became active in the Congress in 2017 and was named its star campaigner for the party for the 2018 assembly polls. After the party’s defeat, she returned to the BJP in 2020.
Vijayashanthi, whose film career spans nearly four decades, has acted in over 180 films in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi. Her screen appearances had become rare from 1999 onward as she began focusing on politics. After a sabbatical of 13 years, she returned to the silver screen in 2020 with Sarileru Neekevvaru, which stars popular actor Mahesh Babu in the lead.