Congress melts away in Telangana assembly after 12 MLAs merge with TRS
As 12 MLAs account for two-third of the Congress Legislature Party, which has an effective strength of 18, they will not attract provisions of the anti-defection law, officials said.Updated: Jun 06, 2019 23:57 IST
The Congress in Telangana plunged into crisis on Thursday as 12 MLAs broke away from the party and resolved to merge with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), thereby escaping the provisions of the anti-defection law.
The Congress won 19 seats in the 119-member state assembly in the elections held last December. Subsequently, as many as 11 MLAs switched over to the TRS, though they officially did not resign from the Congress.
On Thursday, one more MLA —P Rohit Reddy, who represents Tandur assembly constituency in Ranga Reddy district — met TRS working president K T Rama Rao and expressed his desire to join his party.
With this, the total number of turncoats from the Congress to the TRS rose to 12.
At the same time, the Congress lost one more MLA, with the resignation of Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy from his Huzurnagar assembly seat on Wednesday, following his election to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda in the general elections.
Soon after Rohit Reddy’s switchover, KTR called all the 12 turncoat MLAs to his residence for lunch at Pragati Bhavan where they held an impromptu legislature party meeting and adopted a resolution that they would be merging with the TRS.
Later, they went to the state assembly and submitted a copy of their resolution to Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy.
Explaining why the turncoat MLAs would not be disqualified under the anti-defection law, senior advocate of Telangana high court T Sriranga Rao said, “The MLAs can announce breaking away from the party to form a separate group and then merge with the TRS.
Since they constitute two-thirds of the total party strength, they will not draw the provisions of the anti-defection law.”
With the switchover of 12 MLAs and resignation of one MLA, the strength of the Congress in the state assembly has come down to six, which is one less than the strength of the Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslimeen (MIM) that has seven MLAs.
A Congress leader familiar with developments said another party MLA, Podem Veeraiah from Bhadrachalam, is also planning to swicth to the TRS. The turncoat MLAs, however, defended their decision.
“Everything went on according to constitutional norms. We have joined the TRS for the development of our constituencies,” Pinapaka MLA Rega Kantha Rao said.
Senior journalist and political analyst S Ramakrishna said though the turncoat MLAs were technically correct in their move to merge with the TRS, they were morally wrong.
“It is unfortunate that the TRS chief does not want to face the Opposition at all in the assembly,” he said