Hyderabad: A day after resignation of TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy from his MLA post from his Huzurnagar Assembly constituency, the ruling TRS party has given a rude jolt to the Congress by executing its long pending CLP merger plan. The dozen MLAs of the Congress on Thursday called on Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy at Ministers’ Quarters and submitted a letter urging him to merge the CLP into the ruling party.
The defected MLAs of the Congress submitted a signed letter to the Speaker to this effect. The defected 12 Congress MLAs are: P. Sabita Indra Reddy (Maheshwaram), Pilot Rohit Reddy (Tandur), Gandra Venkataramana Reddy (Bhupalapalle), Atram Sakku (Asifabad (ST), Rega Kantha Rao (Pinapaka), Vanama Venkateshwar Rao (Kothagudem), Haripriya Naik (Yellandu), B Harshavardhan Reddy (Kollapur), D Sudheer Reddy (L.B. Nagar), Kandala Upender Reddy (Palair), Jajula Surender (Yellareddy) and Chirumarti Lingaiah (Nakrekal, SC).
As per legislature rules, merger of a political party into another is possible only when two-thirds of the party MLAs seeking the merger and submit a letter to the Speaker of the House urging him to effect the merger. In the current scenario, out of the 18 MLAs of the Congress party, 12 MLAs constituting two-thirds strength to facilitate the merger, have signed the letter and submitted it to the Speaker. With this, the strength of the rebel Congress MLAs has gone up to 12 with the addition of the Vikarabad MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy on the same day paving the way for submission of the merger letter. All the defector MLAs, who publicly announced they were joining the ruling party, called on TRS working president K Tarakarama Rao at CM’s camp office Pragati Bhavan.
The Congress’s strength in the 119-member House came down to 18 after Uttam Kumar Reddy tendering his resignation from the Assembly on Thursday after being elected to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda. In a dramatic turn of events, Tandoor Congress MLA Rohith Reddy met TRS working president KTR and pledged his loyalty to the ruling party. In March, 11 Congress MLAs had announced that they would join the TRS. Senior Congress legislator Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy said the 12 MLAs decided to work with the Chief Minister for development of the State.
“We held a special meeting of the Congress Legislature Party. The 12 members supported the leadership of Chief Minister KCR and wanted to work with him. We gave a representation to the Speaker and requested him to merge us with the TRS,” Reddy said. As 12 MLAs account for two-thirds of the Congress Legislature Party, which has an effective strength of 18, they will not attract provisions of the anti-defection law, officials said. If the Speaker accepts their request, the Congress may lose the Opposition party status as its strength will come down to just six. The AIMIM led by Hyderabad Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi has seven members in the Assembly, while the BJP has just one. The TRS won 88 seats in the Assembly polls held in December last year.