As many as 12 of its 18 Congress MLAs in Telangana, today, met Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy and gave him a representation to merge the Congress Legislature Party with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The Congress’s strength in the 119-member House came down to 18 after the party’s Telangana state unit chief Uttam Kumar Reddy tendered his resignation from the Assembly after being elected to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda.
In a dramatic turn of events, Tandoor Congress MLA Rohith Reddy met TRS Working President and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s son KT Rama Rao and pledged his loyalty to the ruling outfit.
Three months ago, 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 the 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 added.
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.
As the news of the 12 MLAs meeting the Speaker spread, CLP leader Bhatti Vikramarka, PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy and Manthani MLA D. Sreedhar Babu staged a dharna at the Assembly. They wrapped their mouths with black ribbons to protest that democracy had been openly murdered in Telangana with the Speaker acting against the Constitution and at the directions of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao. Later police arrested them.