Four of the defecting TDP MPs claim they meet the two-third criteria, allowing the merging of one party with another.

Vice President accepts the merger of TDP legislature party in Rajya Sabha with BJP
news Politics Saturday, June 22, 2019 - 12:07

The Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday issued orders to merge the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislature party in Rajya Sabha with the BJP. He issued the orders on the same day a delegation of TDP MPs met with him challenging the defections.

Four of the TDP MPS, Rajya Sabha MPs – YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao and TG Venkatesh – resigned from the party and joined the BJP on Thursday leaving the party with just two parliamentarians. The defectors claim that they meet the two-third criteria required under the Tenth Schedule of the Indian Constitution thus not attracting the Anti Defection law.

This jolt comes for the TDP after they could secure only three of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state and also fared poorly in the Assembly Eections, winning only 23 seats of the 151 Assembly seats.

It was on Wednesday that four Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to Andhra Pradesh's TDP announced that they wanted to merge with the BJP. By Friday the website of the Rajya Sabha listed the four members as BJP parliamentarians. “I wanted to resign from my post but I have decided to join BJP in the interest of the nation and Andhra Pradesh. I told five other MPs of TDP about my decision and three others decided to join me,” YS Chowdry to Times of India.

This is despite five of the TDP MPs from the Upper and Lower Houses of the Parliament visiting the Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu challenging the defections earlier that day. The leaders said their merger of the TDP legislative party with the BJP does not meet the criteria that the merger should happen at the organisational level.

The TDP MP Galla Jayadev told reporters, "They are merging the legislature party in Rajya Sabha since they have a two-third majority. Having gone through the law what we now understand is, the merger of a political party has to take place at an organisational level. It cannot take place at the legislature party level. Since the TDP and the BJP have not merged at the organisational level this is not a legal merger."

In their letter to the Vice President the TDP leader wrote, "We have come to know through media reports that four Rajya Sabha members have submitted a so-called resolution citing Tenth Schedule, paragraph 4, point 2 of the Constitution of India, claiming that the TDP Legislature Party in the Rajya Sabha is merging with the BJP. However, as per the Tenth Schedule, any merger of political parties must take place at the organisational level," stated their letter to the Vice President. The letter further added that the MPS who have joined the BJP had "no authority nor are they empowered" to merge TDP with the BJP.&

It is yet to be seen if the TDP like the Telangana Congress facing a similar situation over MLA defections, would move the Andhra High Court.

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