Meanwhile, Butta Renuka, one of the richest parliamentarians from the state, who had joined the TDP in 2017, returned to the YSRCP.

Ex-Andhra min joins YSRCP a day after being named in TDP candidate list
news Politics Sunday, March 17, 2019 - 08:35

As many as five leaders from the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh and one Congress leader shifted loyalties to the YSRCP ahead of the Legislative Assembly elections in the state within a span of 48 hours. While the YSRCP claimed that these leaders were leaving a “sinking ship”, TDP leaders said that the party was unfazed by the defections and expected to win comfortably in the upcoming polls.

The leaders who jumped ship from TDP to YSRCP are Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Vanga Geetha, Butta Renuka, Balli Durga Prasad and Aadala Prabhakar Reddy. Former minister Konathala Ramakrishna from the Congress who was flipflopping between the TDP and YSRCP joined the latter. All these leaders had been in talks with YSRCP over the past few weeks.

Butta Renuka, one of the richest parliamentarians in the 16th Lok Sabha and in Andhra Pradesh, had joined the TDP in 2017 and has now returned to the YSRCP. Reports suggested that she defected as she was unhappy with the TDP leadership after being sidelined since Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy defected from the Congress.

Another notable defection is that of Adala Prabhakar Reddy who jumped ship despite being announced as a TDP candidate for Nellore rural constituency. Prabhakar was a two-time Congress MLA from Sarvepalli who had defected and contested on a TDP ticket from Nellore rural in 2014. He then lost the 2014 polls to YSRCP candidate Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy.

Speaking to TNM, Prabhakar said that he was unhappy with the party due to ‘backstabbing’ by local leaders and claimed that they did not want him to win from the Nellore rural seat. “I even tried to meet Chandrababu Naidu to inform him about what is happening on the ground but was not given an appointment. I had informed him about these issues before also, but the party is not taking the matter seriously. There are some TDP leaders who were earlier looking after the party activity in the constituency. Their workers are not supporting me,” he added.

The YSRCP expects more TDP and Congress leaders to leave their fold and join them before the last day for filing of nominations on March 25.

The TDP, however, claims to be unfazed by these defections. Speaking to TNM, Vijayawada MP Kesineni Srinivas said, “We are not able to accommodate them. Politics is all about possibility, it's not about party ideology or philosophy like before, so whoever gets a possibility they are moving. It doesn't matter if they win or lose, what is important for these defectors is being alive in politics. We have a good possibility of getting 130 seats out of 175 Assembly seats and winning at least 19 seats out of 25 MP seats, so there’s nothing to worry about.”

The leader said that the party at the moment was not concerned about the defections before the polls but is confident of preventing any defections after the election.

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