With barely less than 10 days left for the Member of Legislative Council (MLC) elections on March 12, the Telangana Congress has lost two of its legislators to the Telangana Rastra Samiti (TRS). With this, the party has no chance of winning even one of the five MLC seats in the Telangana Assembly.
The two Congress MLAs, Athram Sakku of Asifabad and R Kantha Rao of Pinapaka Assembly constituencies, issued a joint statement confirming their decision to quit the Congress and join TRS.
On Saturday, the two also met the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, who assured the MLAs from Scheduled Tribe (ST) reserved constituencies that problems faced by Adivasi tribes will be addressed. The duo, in their joint statement, said they are even ready to resign from their MLA posts and contest elections again on a TRS ticket if need be. “We will meet the CM again and also consult legal experts regarding the impact of joining the TRS. We are ready to resign from House membership and contest again on TRS ticket if required,” read their statement.
The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) MLAs in Telangana are also likely to jump ship to TRS. The TDP legislator Sandra Venkata Veeraiah from Sathupalle constituency is also expected to join the TRS after his meet with the Telangana Chief Minister on Saturday.
With the defection of MLAs from the Congress and TDP, their combined tally in the legislative assembly comes down to 18, three short of the required MLA vote strength required to win a single MLC seat for the Congress. The TRS tally in the assembly now rises to 91. This would be the first time that the Congress has no MLC representative in the Telangana assembly.
Of the five MLC seats, the TRS intends to win four seats and have offered one seat to All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM). With the support of seven AIMIM legislators, the TRS now has assured vote from 98 MLAs and require votes from six more MLAs. The TRS is expected to eat into the Congress-TDP MLA base in the coming days.