In yet another blow to the Congress in Telangana, its senior leader Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy on Sunday resigned from the party. A former member of Telangana Legislative Council, Sudhakar Reddy is likely to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He took the decision two days after his term as a member of the Council came to an end. In his resignation letter sent to Congress President Rahul Gandhi, he voiced his displeasure over the functioning of state leaders. He alleged that those with money power were given tickets to contest the elections while hardworking party leaders were ignored.
Reddy's resignation came hours before Gandhi's arrival to kick-off the party's campaign for the April 11 elections to all 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.
The senior leader from Khammam district is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later on Sunday. He might join the party at the BJP rally scheduled in Hyderabad on Monday.
Sudhakar would be the third senior leader to join the BJP in Telangana as a few days ago, former minister D K Aruna switched loyalties from the Congress to the BJP and was announced as the party’s candidate from the Mahabubnagar Lok Sabha seat.
In a setback to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), its outgoing Mahbubnagar MP A P Jithender Reddy joined the BJP after he was denied a ticket.
The Congress is already reeling under a series of desertions. As many as 10 MLAs of the party have defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) this month, the latest being J Surender, who represents Yellareddy constituency in Nizamabad district.
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. The party has called on Governor E S L Narasimhan and demanded that the defectors be disqualified.