In a major setback to TDP in Telangana, the party's floor leader in Legislative Assembly Errabelli Dayakar Rao and another MLA Prakash Goud on Wednesday joined the ruling TRS.
Dayakar, a TDP veteran, and Goud joined the TRS in the presence of its president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in Hyderabad.
A founding member of the TDP, Dayakar expressed anguish over having to quit the Chandrababu Naidu-led party, which he said has lost the people's trust in the newly created state.
"I have been in the party (TDP) for the last 35 years. I was a member of the committee that was formed to prepare TDP's flag. I joined TDP when I was 25.
"I feel the pain (to quit TDP), but people in Telangana do not keep faith in TDP; TDP cannot rise in Telangana now despite efforts. Telangana people are crowning TRS though many efforts are being made to save TDP.
"Me and Prakash Goud joined TRS in the presence of Chief Minister as justice can be done to Telangana people only by TRS," Dayakar told reporters.
The five-time MLA said he apologises to the TDP activists "with folded hands" to understand his decision taken under inevitable circumstances.
Dayakar said he had earlier criticised the TRS and the Chief Minister as per TDP's direction. A public meeting would be organised where he would formally join TRS along with his supporters.
Replying to a query, Dayakar said two or three more TDP MLAs are ready to join TRS. The veteran legislator said he does not have anything against TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Goud, MLA from Rajendra Nagar in Hyderabad, said he joined the TRS in the interest of his constituency's development.
Goud, president of Ranga Reddy district unit of TDP, said he did not have any problem in the Naidu-led outfit.
With Dayakar and Goud joining the TRS, the total number of TDP MLAs, who switched loyalty to the ruling party in Telangana, rose to nine. TDP won 15 Assembly seats in the 2014 Assembly elections, which were swept by the Chandrasekhar Rao-headed TRS.
TDP had filed disqualification petitions with the Assembly Speaker against its MLAs who quit the party. Some MLAs from Congress and YSR Congress have also joined the ruling outfit since June 2014 when TRS government assumed office after Telangana became a separate state.
The "shocking" development came within two days of a TDP MLA from Qutbullapur seat K P Vivekananda switching loyalty to the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led party.
TDP chief Naidu on Wednesday suspended Dayakar, Goud and another MLA for "anti-party activities".
In a statement issued in Vijayawada, Naidu said Dayakar, Goud and K P Vivekananda (the third MLA who joined TRS two days ago) were suspended from the TDP with immediate effect.
In the 119-member Telangana Assembly, the TRS has 76 MLAs while 15 are from Congress.
Dayakar's exit is a jolt to the TDP as he has a strong base in Warangal district. He has been an MLA for four terms and had also won as an MP in a by-election in 2008. He was also a member of the TDP politburo.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu informed Telangana Legislative Assembly Speaker that Dayakar Rao, who has been functioning as the floor leader of the party, has been suspended from the party.
He intimated to the Speaker that A Revanth Reddy will be the new leader of TDP in the Legislative Assembly.