Hyderabad: Ahead of Lok Sabha elections, Vanama Venkateswara Rao belonging to Congress in Telangana jumped ship to the ruling TRS yesterday.
Rao was representing Kothagudem constituency. He stated that all-round development of his constituency was important and that the Telangana Chief Minister had him to comprehensively develop it. Even as Rao becomes the eighth Congress MLA to do so. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) SC cell chairman Arepalli Mohan joined TRS in the presence of TRS working president K T Rama Rao yesterday.
The shifting of MLAs to the ruling party is a major set back to the Congress. In the recent past, Congress MLAs Atram Sakku, Rega Kantha Rao, Haripriya Naik, Ch Lingaiah, P Sabita Indra Reddy, D Sudhir Reddy, Upender Reddy had deserted the party to join the TRS.
This situation may make the Congress lose the status of main opposition in the 119-member House if the eight MLAs go ahead with their decision to resign. The party requires minimum 12 MLAs, being 10 per cent of the house strength to retain the principal opposition status. If four more Congress MLAs join the dissidents, the group will not attract provisions of anti-defection law.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka had alleged that the Chief Minister was conspiring to eliminate the opposition as he lacked courage to answer their questions and he was responsible for the MLAs defection to the ruling party.