HYDERABAD: Almost one-third of the Congress’ strength since the new Telangana Assembly came into being has vanished, with two more MLAs, Kandala Upender Reddy (Palair) and Jajala Surender (Yellareddy), deciding to join the ranks of the TRS. The Congress won 19 seats in the Assembly elections. Seven of its MLAs have defected to the pink party, so far.
The latest blow to the grand old party came when Palair MLA K Upender Reddy officially announced that he was leaving the Congress and joining the pink panthers. Jajala Surender has not made any official statement, so far, but is likely to join the TRS in the presence of CM K Chandrasekhar Rao during a public meeting to be held in Nizamabad on March 19. Surrender was a close aide of Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy in erstwhile Nizamabad district.
Rumour mills have it that the defections will continue for a few more days with another five to six Congress MLAs raring to go. Out of the 19 Congress MLAs, if two-thirds (13 MLAs) defect to the ruling TRS, then they will not attract the provisions of anti-defection law. So far, seven Congress MLAs have switched loyalty and it will require another six to follow suit to effect the merger of the Congress into the TRS. Lending credence to the speculation that the Congress may lose Opposition status in the House, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has repeatedly hinted that a few more lawmakers may join the TRS.
Jajala Surender has not made any official statement, so far, but is likely to join the TRS in the presence of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao during a public meeting
KCR striving for everyone’s development says Upender
Later in the day, Palair MLA Upender Reddy said KCR was striving hard for the development of all sections of people and all regions. “The chief minister saw to it that Bhatka Ramadas project was completed in record time. The project will provide water to many in Palair Assembly segment. He made drought-hit Palair cultivable. I am confident that under the leadership of KCR, all ongoing irrigation projects in erstwhile Khammam district will be completed,” Upender Reddy said.
The Palair MLA said in just five years of KCR’s rule, Telangana witnessed substantial development, especially in roads and drinking water sectors. “I do not see any leader who has complete knowledge about Telangana State and is dedicated to its development like KCR is.
That is why I have decided to strengthen the leadership of KCR. I strongly believe that the development of Palair and Khammam district is possible only with KCR,” Upender Reddy said. Like other Congress MLAs, Upender Reddy too declared that he would resign and contest again in the Assembly elections if necessary.