Waiting for the magic figure of seven to escape the Anti-Defection Law, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is eager to bring more Congress MLAs into its fold. The law allows one-third of the members of a party to leave and join another political outfit.
The Telangana unit of the Congress has won 19 seats in the 2018 elections; so far, two MLAs - Rega Kantha Rao and Atram Sakku - have quit the party to join the TRS. Two more MLAs - Chirumarti Lingaiah (Nakrekal) and Banoth Haripriya (Yellendu) - expressed their willingness to join and are in touch with the TRS.
While Haripriya is the third ST candidate to quit the Congress for the TRS, Ramulu Naik, an independent candidate from Wyra constituency, has already joined them. Sandra Venkata Veeriah of the TDP has also joined the TRS.
In a major jolt to the party, senior leader, Maheswaram MLA and former home minister in YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s cabinet Patolla Sabitha Indra Reddy is apparently in talks with the TRS through Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi. It is believed that Sabitha is seeking the Chevella Loksabha seat for her son Karthik Reddy. It is also believed that the TRS is ready to offer her a berth in KCR’s cabinet but Sabitha, who was once home minister, is more keen on getting her son an MP nomination.
Congress to boycott MLC elections
After losing quite a few of their flock to the TRS, TPCC chief Capt Uttam Kumar Reddy and others met Sabitha Reddy, who appears to have denied the reports of her joining the TRS. The Congress also decided to boycott the MLC elections for five seats under the MLA quota to be held on Tuesday. With four MLAs ready to vote for the TRS, it has already lost its chance to get its lone MLC candidate elected.
“TRS is bulldozing people’s will by arm-twisting MLAs from Opposition parties to join its fold,” said Congress Legislature Party leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka on Monday. He sought an explanation from the TRS on why it has fielded a fifth MLC candidate when its strength can secure victory for only four. "The TRS had planned the inducement of our MLAs ahead of nominations," he said.