HYDERABAD: The two remaining Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLAs in Telangana, Mecha Nageshwara Rao and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Wednesday.
The duo gave a letter to speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy merging the TDP into TRS. Before submitting the letter to the speaker, both Nageshwara Rao and Venkata Veeraiah met TRS supremo and CM K Chandrasekhar Rao at Pragati Bhavan.
In 2018 assembly elections, Nageshwara Rao (Ashwaraopet constituency) and Venkata Veeraiah (Sathupally) had won on TDP tickets. Both seats are in Khammam. Venkata Veeraiah aligned with the TRS in March 2019 itself though he technically continued as a TDP MLA as per assembly records. Nageshwara Rao too had not been participating in TDP activities for the past two years.
With this merger, TRS now has 101 MLAs in a house of 119.
The TRS had won 88 seats in the 2018 assembly elections. Later, 12 of 18 Congress MLAs joined TRS, taking the number to 100. However, its Nagarjuna Sagar MLA Nomula Narasimhaiah passed away in December, taking TRS’s seat tally to 99. With the two new joinings, TRS numbers have for the first time crossed 100.
In a swift development in the wake of Nagarjuna Sagar by-election on April 17, where the TDP fielded Muvva Arun Kumar as its candidate, the TDP MLAs officially joined TRS, weakening an already weakened TDP further.
On Wednesday evening, assembly speaker Srinivas Reddy issued a bulletin acceding the request of two TDP MLAs to merge them with TRS. “The TRS leader has communicated to the speaker that the TRS party has agreed the request for the merger of the two members into TRS legislature party in the assembly and requested to take necessary action,” the bulletin said.
This is not the first time that TDP MLAs have switched loyalties and joined the pink party. In the 2014-2018 assembly, 12 of the 15 TDP MLAs joined TRS in similar fashion. Interestingly, Sandra Veeraiah was a TDP MLA then as well but had chosed not to jump ship. The other two MLAs, A Revanth Reddy and R Krishnaiah, are not members of the present house.
One of the 12 Congress MLAs, who defected to the TRS, Sabita Indra Reddy, is a minister in the KCR cabinet. With the defections, Congress lost the main opposition party status in the assembly and later moved Telangana high court against the speaker’s merger order.