Telangana: 12 BRS MLAs likely to join Congress before Budget

They are said to have spoken to four MLAs and assured them that the BRS will come to power in the next polls.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

HYDERABAD: As many as 12 BRS MLAs are likely to defect to the Congress before the Telangana government presents the full Budget in the second week of July. The ruling Congress, which had inducted three BRS MLAs before the Lok Sabha polls, has hastened discussions with the pink party legislators.

A senior Congress leader said that there is a threat from the BJP — which won eight seats in the state in the recent Lok Sabha elections — and recalled comments by saffron party leaders that the state government will collapse in the coming days. The leader said some pink party legislators, including a former minister, are thinking about joining the BJP to protect their business interests and safeguard themselves from raids by Central agencies. Hence, the grand old party has speeded up Operation Akarsh.

Meanwhile, key BRS leaders, under the direction of party supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao, are visiting the residences of their MLAs and trying to persuade them to stay. They are said to have spoken to four MLAs and assured them that the BRS will come to power in the next polls. But the MLAs reportedly replied that they did not receive any financial support in the past 10 years.

When TNIE got in touch with a senior BRS MLA, who also served as a minister in the KCR Cabinet, he also spoke about financial struggles and alleged the party leadership did not reward his supporters. He said he has decided to join the Congress.

Highly placed sources in the Congress confirmed that a party leader, who is a close confidant of CM A Revanth Reddy, is in touch with the BRS MLAs.

A senior BRS MLA from Nizamabad is among those set to join the Congress. The MLA, who earlier served as a minister, has accepted the Congress invite, sources said. He is also said to be eyeing a role for his son.

Two BRS turncoats might be given Cabinet posts

A BRS legislator from Karimnagar is in discussions with an advisor in the Revanth government. He is said to be asking for a Cabinet berth and his entry would likely be confirmed after the high command gives the go-ahead.

In the recent Lok Sabha elections, the Congress lost in Mahbubnagar. The ruling party also failed to win the local body MLC elections. Nevertheless, there might soon be good news for the Congress from the erstwhile Mahbubnagar district, with two BRS MLAs — representing Assembly segments that come under Nagarkurnool LS constituency — likely to join the grand old party along with their political godfather.

From Medak, three pink party legislators have reportedly agreed to join the Congress. But the demand of a senior MLA for a Cabinet berth is said to be creating trouble, with a former MLA from the ruling party reportedly opposed to their entry. Congress sources said they are holding discussions with the leader to pacify him.

Four-five BRS MLAs from the Great Hyderabad region have also been in touch with their old friends in the Congress. They apparently expect prestigious corporation and nominated posts, and talks are said to be in the final stages. Incidentally, a number of BRS MLAs from this region, like the chief minister, were originally with the TDP. They joined the pink party after the cash-for-votes scandal in which Revanth was arrested.

Congress sources said there is a chance that one or two turncoats, who are likely to engineer more defections, might be accommodated in the Cabinet. In addition, nominated posts could be given to three-four defectors. It remains to be seen how the old guard in the Congress reacts to such a move.

The BRS won 39 seats in the 2023 Assembly polls. One of the BRS MLAs died in a road accident and the Congress won the bypolls. While three MLAs have already joined the Congress, around 12 more are likely to do so soon, bringing the total to around 15. In order to circumvent the anti-defection law, the Congress would need around 10 more BRS MLAs and it is expected that the party will persist with Operation Akarsh for some more time.

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