The Congress on Thursday faced an existential crisis in Telangana after 12 of its 18 MLAs requested a merger with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi led by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The party had won 18 seats in the last year’s assembly polls in the state’s 119-member assembly. 12 MLAs constitute two-third of the party’s current strength in the state assembly. The Speaker, according to a report by The Hindu, has acceded to the demand of the 12 MLAs, considering the fact that they constituted two-thirds of the total number of 18 MLAs. This now effectively means that the Congress will also lose the status of the opposition party in the assembly. The AIMIM led by Asaduddin Owaisi has seven MLAs. The lone TDP MLA too has expressed his desire to join the TRS.
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee President N Uttam Kumar Reddy, who resigned as an MLA after being elected to the Lok Sabha last month, has hit out at KCR. He was quoted by PTI, “This is completely illegal. KCR is cheating the mandate of the people of Telangana.” Reddy also staged protests on the Assembly premises along with Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka, and senior party leaders, after 12 MLAs decided to merge with the TRS.
One of the defectors, Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy, told journalists that the 12 MLAs had unanimously decided to work under Chief Minister Rao for the ‘development of the State.’ He said that the defectors had held a ‘special meeting of Congress Legislature Party’ with all 12 supporting the leadership of Chief Minister Rao.’
In the just-concluded Lok Sabha polls, the Congress had improved its tally to three, while the TRS won nine. The BJP had picked up four seats while the remaining one seat had gone to the AIMIM.
The Congress performance in the last month’s Lok Sabha polls was below par with the party managing to win just 53 seats, two short of the required number to be eligible to acquire the status of Leader of Opposition in the lower House of the parliament.
The defeat in the parliamentary polls has caused huge unrest within the party in several states including Punjab and Rajasthan, where the Congress is in power.