Looks like the MLAs from the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) are leaking out from all sides. In the latest defection from the party, MLA Giddi Eswari, representing the Paderu Assembly constituency crossed over to the ruling Telugu Desam party (TDP) today in the presence of Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu. This even as the YSRCP is boycotting the winter session of the Assembly over the issue of defections.
This is the second defection this month: Earlier, MLA V Rajeswari of Rampachodvaram shifted her loyalties from the YSRCP to the TDP.
Giddi Eswari after joining TDP said, "I have came here to join TDP because of two reasons: One is despite my hard work, my self respect was damaged as opposition leader didn't give me recognition. And I wanted to work under the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu, who is taking the state in the path of development, so that my tribal area will be developed.‚ÄĚ
The latest defection of Giddi Eswari also shows that there are no permanent friends or enemies in politics. It can be recollected that in December 2015, Eswari speaking at an anti bauxite protest, reportedly made controversial comments about CM Chandrababu Naidu. She said, "He is a fraudster, conspirer, thief ‚Äď it is time to see to his end as he is coming to loot our wealth (referring to water, environment, forest).‚ÄĚ Back then, the Visakhapatnam police had registered a case under IPC 124 A ,307, 508 and 511 based on the complaint by TDP partymen
In all, 23 legislators from the main opposition have now jumped ship to the ruling party. In fact, the Chandrababu Naidu government has accommodated as many as four defectors in the Cabinet, namely Adinarayana Reddy, RV Sujay Krishna Ranga Rao, N Amarnath Reddy and Bhuma Akhila Priya.
While the YSRCP has been crying foul, demanding that the defectors be immediately disqualified from the Assembly under Schedule 10 of the Constitution ‚Äď also known as the anti-defection law ‚Äď their demands have been ignored by the Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao.
Jagan Mohan Reddy also wrote to the President to intervene in the issue, to no avail.
Following the 2014 general elections, the saga of defections began in the YSRCP. In early 2016, one of the most significant defections happened: Nandyal MLA Bhuma Nagireddy and his daughter Bhuma Akhila Priya who bagged the Allagadda seat which fell vacant following her mother Shoba Nagireddy's death, decided to switch over to the ruling party.
Earlier in the month Vijayawada West MLA Jaleel Khan, who defected from YSRCP to TDP in 2016 told TNM, "I have joined TDP as YSRCP failed as an opposition party. Jagan is dreaming of becoming the CM of the state, which won't happen. Earlier, 21 of us switched to TDP. Now, 9 more are ready to join."
Political observers too feel that the number might increase as at least two to three MLA's are said to be queuing up at Chandrababu‚Äôs office.
Telakapalli Ravi, senior political observer said, "This shows the image which Jagan had before 2014 is also seemingly fading away."
He also added, "YSRCP is seeing defections while Jagan is on his Yatra, and taking every opportunity to attack the ruling party for ‚Äėencouraging‚Äô defections. The ruling party‚Äôs strategy is to show that there is no fabric of trust in the YSRCP.‚ÄĚ
Speaking to TNM Dr M Arun Kumar, Secretary YSRCP and spokesperson said, "This is a new low in the ruling party's politics. If this is the case what is the need for political parties in a democracy?"
Responding on the defectors‚Äô allegations of not giving the enough recognition, he said, "It is not true. They're being told that they will be given positions in the government, but soon they will realise where they had headed."
However, the defections are not only worrying the YSRCP. This entry of a floating population much ahead of the 2019 polls has got the ruling party MLAs and those leaders who lost in the last election tensed. They worry that their seats will be given away to the new entrants, according to sources.