Big blow to Naidu as four TDP RS MPs join BJP

Last Updated 20 June 2019, 19:52 IST
(from left) T G Venkatesh, C M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao 
(from left) T G Venkatesh, C M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao 

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s political troubles are not yet over. Decimated in the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, Naidu received another jolt after the BJP on Thursday inducted four of the party’s six Rajya Sabha MPs into its fold, thereby taking the saffron party’s tally to 75 in the 245-member Upper House.

Y S Chowdary, C M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao and T G Venkatesh announced their intention of joining the saffron party at the first press conference of newly-appointed BJP Working President J P Nadda. The shifting of loyalties happened when Naidu was vacationing abroad with family.

The group of MPs led by Chowdary met BJP President Amit Shah in the morning before they submitted a formal letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu. While the MPs handed Naidu a letter of a resolution passed by the legislature party urging its merger, the BJP submitted a letter of acceptance to the request of TDP MPs to the Rajya Sabha Chairman.

The TDP is the second regional party to have fallen prey to the BJP’s poaching spree, the other being the Trinamool Congress, whose MLAs and corporators are joining the BJP at regular intervals.

The BJP, which despite a brute majority in LS cannot pass key bills as it is short of a majority in RS, has now got a boost.

Like the TDP, which has six MPs in the Rajya Sabha, the number of RS MPs from smaller parties with one to six MPs is around 80. Some of them are part of the NDA, while most such parties are in the Opposition ranks.

While the Samajwadi Party and the Trinamool Congress have 13 members each, most others have fewer MPs.

The RJD has five MPs, Bahujan Samaj Party and NCP have four, Aam Aadmi Party three, Janata Dal (Secular) and the Indian National Lok Dal have just one MP. These parties could be vulnerable to poaching.

Chowdary was TDP’s Legislature Party leader in Rajya Sabha while CM Ramesh was its Deputy Leader in the House. Both had vehemently protested against Modi government in the House, alleging non-fulfillment of promises made by the earlier UPA government during bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.

In November last year, the Income Tax department and Enforcement Directorate had carried out two-day raids at the premises of Chowdary, a close aide of the TDP chief. Before that, raids were also conducted on TDP MP C M Ramesh in a case. Ramesh had then alleged that Amit Shah wanted to frame him.

After the TDP MPs joined the BJP, Nadda said, “I assure them that the BJP believes in politics of positivity and inclusiveness.”

In their joint resolution, the TDP MPs said they had decided to merge with the BJP “inspired and encouraged” by the “impeccable leadership” of Modi and developmental politics being pursued by him.

Nadda hailed the TDP MPs as “grassroot leaders” and expressed confidence they would strengthen the BJP. Chowdary said the decision to join the BJP was the result of the Lok Sabha poll outcome, which, he said, reflected the mood of the nation.

Since out of six TDP MPs, four have walked out together, they escape the provisions of the anti-defection law, according to which the support of two-third members of a party is mandatory is recognize a split group in Parliament.

The TDP had six MPs - five from Andhra Pradesh and one from Telangana in Rajya Sabha. The lone Telangana MP and three from Andhra Pradesh defected to the BJP on Thursday.

In Lok Sabha polls, the TDP could win only three of the 25 Lok Sabha seats. In assembly polls, the party could win only 23 of 151 seats.

(Published 20 June 2019, 18:36 IST)

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