In the latest shock to Congress in Telangana, its senior leader and legislator Sabitha Indra Reddy and her son Karthik Reddy are set to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Sabitha Reddy, a former Home Minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh, and her son met Chief Minister and TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao on Wednesday where she is understood to have sought a cabinet berth for herself and a TRS ticket for her son from Chevella Lok Sabha constituency.
KCR, as Rao is popularly known, reportedly agreed to field Karthik Reddy but made no commitment on inducting her in his cabinet. According to sources in Sabitha Reddy's family, they will formally join the TRS at a public meeting to be held soon in Chevella.
Sabitha Reddy had last Sunday met KCR's son and TRS Working President K T Rama Rao at the residence of All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi, who is playing a key role in Sabitha Reddy's induction in TRS.
The TRS and the AIMIM have an understanding as the former is leaving the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat uncontested, to ensure the latter’s victory.
Following this meeting at Owaisi’s residence, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy had maintained that Sabitha Reddy will not leave the party. Congress Working President Revanth Reddy had also called on her to persuade her not to defect.
A key leader in Ranga Reddy district near Hyderabad, Sabitha Reddy was Home Minister in the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government.
She was elected from Maheswaram Assembly constituency in the December 7 elections. However, her son had quit the Congress on the poll eve after he was denied ticket from the Rajendranagar constituency, which the party had left for its alliance partner Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
With four MLAs defecting to TRS this month, the Congress party's tally in 119-member Assembly has come down to 15. If this number drops below 12, the party will lose its official status as opposition as it needs at least 10 percent of the total number of seats in the Assembly to get recognition as the opposition.
Leader of Opposition Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, also stands to lose his rank of a cabinet minister if this were to happen.
The TRS swept the polls held in December, winning 88 out of the total 119 seats up for grabs.