More trouble for TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu as 3 former MLAs defect to BJP
Stepping up its efforts to attract potential leaders from opposition parties in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to expand its base, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday admitted three former MLAs and an ex-MP from Telagnana into its fold.
Three of them – E Peddi Reddy and Boda Janardhan, former MLAs from Karimnagar and Adilabad districts and Chada Suresh Reddy, former MP from Warangal – are from the Telugu Desam Party, while ex-MLA P Shashidhar Reddy is from the Congress.
They formally joined the BJP in the presence of party general secretary P Muralidhar Rao after meeting BJP working president J P Nadda in New Delhi. Along with them, another senior Congress leader Sheik Rahmatullah also joined the BJP.
The defection of three senior leaders has virtually made the TDP defunct in Telangana. Last week, the party’s lone representative from Telangana in the Rajya Sabha Garikapati Mohan Rao switched over to the BJP, along with three other Rajya Sabha members – Y S Chowdary, C M Ramesh and T G Venkatesh from Andhra Pradesh.
In the December 7 assembly elections, the TDP had contested in 13 assembly seats in an alliance with the Congress, CPI and Telangana Jana Samiti, but won just two seats. One of the MLAs S Venkata Veeraiah joined the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti and the party now has just one MLA – Mecha Nageshwar Rao, who is also said to be looking towards the BJP.
Subsequently, the party has been wiped out in major parts of Telangana with several senior leaders like Nama Nageshwar Rao defecting to the TRS along with thousands of party workers. Rao won the Khammam Lok Sabha seat on a TRS ticket. Now, the TDP has been left with just a couple of leaders like former MP Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy and former MLA L Ramana.
In Andhra Pradesh, too, several TDP leaders are believed to be in queue with the BJP leadership. “At least eight TDP MLAs are in touch with us to join the party. They are waiting for the right time,” BJP state unit vice-president S Vishnu Vardhan Reddy said.
On the other hand, the Congress is also fast losing its ground in Telangana after its debacle in the assembly elections. Though the party made some recovery after it won three Lok Sabha seats, the exodus from the party continued.
The Congress lost its leader of opposition status in the assembly with 12 of 18 Congress MLAs joining the TRS en masse. Another MLA, Komatireddy Rajagopal Reddy also announced that he would join the BJP soon and is waiting for the party to expel him.
“This is just the beginning. You are going to witness many leaders in the Congress and even the TRS joining the BJP. They are disgusted with the dictatorial rule of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao,” state BJP president K Laxman said.