In a major political development, leaders of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which included former legislators close to party chief Chandrababu Naidu, held a secret meeting at Kakinada amid reports that they were planning to join either the BJP or YSRCP.
Under the leadership of former MLA Thota Trimurthulu, TDP leaders belonging to Kapu community held a meeting at a hotel in Kakinada on Thursday to discuss their strategy.
While the politicians did not inform any mediapersons about the meeting in advance, reporters soon learnt of the same and landed up outside the hotel.
Forced to speak to reporters, the leaders denied that they were looking to defect to other parties, telling mediapersons that it was a meeting to introspect on their loss and work out how to represent the interests of their community better.
The developments came amid claims by BJP leaders that several leaders from various parties in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were keen to join their party.
Constituting around 25% of the population in the state according to some estimates and mainly concentrated in the twin Godavari districts, the Kapu community plays a key role in deciding a party's chances in any election. Granting them reservation, was one of Naidu's poll promises.
After the Centre passed a Bill to provide 10% reservation to Economically Backward Classes (EBCs) from the general category in jobs and education, the TDP had promised 5% of the EBC quota for Kapus. However, it did not materialise before the party was ousted.
The TDP lost power to YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh in the recent elections. The party could secure only 23 seats of the 151 Assembly seats. It won only three of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.
The party also plunged into a crisis on Thursday with four of its six Rajya Sabha members including Naidu's close confidantes Y S Chowdary and C M Ramesh joining the BJP.
The TDP parliamentary party in Rajya Sabha also held a meeting and passed a resolution requesting the Rajya Sabha chairman to immediately merge it with the BJP.
In the resolution submitted to the Vice President, they said they decided to merge TDP parliamentary party in Rajya Sabha with BJP under paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.