The tally in the Telangana Assembly of legislators who have pledged allegiance to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) reached 100 on Wednesday as another MLA of the main opposition Congress party switched loyalty.
B Harshvardhan Reddy, who was elected from Kollapur constituency in the recent elections, met TRS Working President K T Rama Rao and announced that he will join the ruling party soon. He said he decided to join the TRS in the interest of the development of his constituency. The MLA also said that if necessary, he would resign from the Assembly and seek re-election.
Harshvardhan is the ninth Congress MLA to defect to TRS this month. With the latest defection, the Congress tally in the 119-member Assembly has plunged to 10.
With some more Congress MLAs reported to be in touch with TRS leaders, all the defected legislators may request the Assembly Speaker to recognise their merger with the ruling party.
Under Anti-Defection Law, if two-third 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.
In a related development, senior Adivasi leader Soyam Bapu Rao, who was elected from Boath, shifted to the BJP
In the elections held in December, the TRS bagged 88 seats. A couple of days after the results were announced, an independent MLA and another legislator elected on Forward Bloc ticket joined TRS. One of the two MLAs of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) also joined the TRS early this month. With the 9th MLA switching loyalty, the figure for the TRS has hit 100.
Besides 119 elected members, the Telangana Assembly also has a nominated member. The ruling party nominates a leader from the Anglo-Indian community as the legislator. TRS nominated Elvis Stephenson for a second consecutive term.