Congress-mukt Telangana? Embarrassment for Rahul Gandhi as 12 Congress MLAs jump ship, seek merger of CLP with TRS

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Updated: June 6, 2019 4:32:14 PM

The Congress party faces the prospect of complete disintegration in the southern state of Telangana, with 12 of its 18 MLAs in the state jumping ship.

rahul gandhi, Telangana Congress, TRS, KCRCongress president Rahul Gandhi. (File Photo)

12 Congress MLAs join TRS:  Fresh from the wounds of being pushed to the brink in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi is staring at another major embarrassment in the South. The Congress party faces the prospect of complete disintegration in the southern state of Telangana, with 12 of its 18 MLAs in the state jumping ship and meeting the Assembly Speaker to merge the Congress Legislative Party with K Chandrasekhar Rao’s ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti. The MLAs joined the TRS today, a senior party legislator said.

As per the rules, the anti-defection law cannot be applied when two-thirds or more MLAs of a party defect to another one. They will then be treated as an independent group. The Congress party’s strength currently stands at 18 in a House with 119 seats and one nominated member. In March this year, at least eight other Congress MLAs had jumped ship and joined the TRS.

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On Thursday, 12 Congress MLAs met Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy and gave him a representation to merge the Congress Legislature Party with the TRS. The development came after the Congress MLA from Tandoor, Rohith Reddy, called on TRS Working President and KCR’s son KT Rama Rao and pledged loyalty to the ruling party. At least 11 Congress MLAs had pledged to work with the TRS in March this year.

Senior Congress leader Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy confirmed that the 12 MLAs gave a representation to the Speaker requesting him to merge the CLP with the TRS. “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 told PTI.

Reduced to just six, the Congress is bracing for a major embarrassment since the acceptance of the MLAs’ request by the Speaker will result in the grand old party losing its status as the Opposition party.

In the Assembly elections held in the state in December last year, the AIMIM of Asaduddin Owaisi won seven seats, while the BJP managed just one. The TRS swept the state winning 88 seats in the Assembly polls.

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