In a major blow to opposition leader Jaganmohan Reddy in Andhra Pradesh, four MLAs and one MLC of the YSR Congress party joined the ruling Telugu Desam Party on Monday.
The departure of senior MLA Bhuma Nagi Reddy and his legislator-daughter Akhila Priya is a major blow to the YSRCP in Kurnool district, its stronghold. Two legislators from Reddy’s home turf Kadapa district -- MLA Adinarayana Reddy, MLC Narayana Reddy, also gave a jolt to him. The fifth legislator to have jumped to the party in power is Vijayawada West MLA Jaleel Khan.
The move by the TDP to welcome YSRCP MLAs comes barely days after Reddy claimed that several TDP MLAs were in touch with him and that he will bring down the TDP government of Chandrababu Naidu at a right time.
On Monday, TDP leaders claimed that more MLAs are slated to join chief minister Naidu’s side “attracted by his development approach in the state.”
“This is just the beginning (of the exodus of YSRCP MLAs to TDP). YSRCP will be empty in no time,” said Bonda Umamaheshwar Rao, a TDP MLA.
The development in Andhra Pradesh comes at a time when several TDP MLAs in Telangana have joined the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi, (TRS) majorly thinning the Telugu Desam’s presence in the newly-formed state.
The YSRC legislators drove to the riverfront residence of Naidu, where they were formally welcomed into TDP. Several ministers were present on the occasion.
The TDP chief held a series of talks with his party leaders from Kurnool and Kadapa districts to placate them over the entry of the YSRC legislators.
Kadapa TDP leader Ramasubba Reddy had been strongly opposing the entry of his bitter rival Adinarayana into the party though he said he would go by the party chief’s decision.
For a second time in a week Naidu called Ramasubba, a former minister, to Vijayawada to convince him on Adinarayana’s entry into the TDP.
Similarly, Kurnool district TDP President Silpa Chakrapani Reddy and his brother Mohan Reddy were opposed to the return of Bhuma to the party.
Deputy chief minister KE Krishna Murthy, however, earlier said he would welcome Bhuma and his daughter into the party.
“We joined the Telugu Desam for development of not only our respective constituencies but also the state,” one of the MLAs said.
(With PTI inputs)