The opposition Congress's strength in the Telangana Assembly came down to single digits on Wednesday as its 10th legislator crossed over to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
J. Surender, who represents Yellareddy constituency in Nizamabad district, called on TRS Working President K. T. Rama Rao and announced that he was joining the ruling party. He said he decided to support Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao for the development of his constituency.
Surender is the 10th Congress MLA to defect to the TRS this month.
The TRS, which had bagged 88 seats in 119-member Assembly in the elections held in December, has crossed the 100 mark with the defection of 13 MLAs, including one legislator of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and two independents.
The defected legislators of the Congress may request the Assembly Speaker to recognize their merger with the ruling party. Under the anti-defection law, if two-third of the legislators of a party defect, they will not attract disqualification.
The Congress may even lose the status of main opposition party as it requires 10 percent of the total strength of the House.
Just earlier this week, the Congress demanded that the defectors be disqualified and even asked President’s Rule to be imposed in Telangana.
A delegation of Congress leaders, led by party's central leader and former Union Minister M Veerappa Moily, called on Governor ESL Narasimhan at the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum, urging the Governor to send a copy of their representation to the President to impose President’s Rule in Telangana by invoking Article 356 of the Constitution of India.
The Congress has also urged the Governor to direct the Assembly Speaker to disqualify those MLAs who have announced that they were leaving the Congress.