Telangana: Defections from BRS continue as Bhadrachalam MLA Tellam Venkat Rao joins Cong

BRS won 39 seats in the Assembly election, and with the latest defection, its strength has come down to 35, as the Secunderabad Cantonment MLA died in a road accident.
Tellam Venkat Rao, Revanth Reddy and Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy
Tellam Venkat Rao, Revanth Reddy and Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy
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Ahead of the next month’s Lok Sabha elections, in Telangana, the exodus of leaders from Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) continued as another MLA joined the ruling Congress party on Sunday, April 7. Tellam Venkat Rao, BRS MLA from Bhadrachalam, joined the Congress in the presence of Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy and revenue minister Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy.

He is the third MLA from the main opposition party to join Congress in less than a month. Venkat Rao was elected from Bhadrachalam in the erstwhile Khammam district in the recent Assembly elections. This was the only seat held by BRS among the 10 seats in the district.

Venkat Rao had quit BRS and joined Congress along with Srinivas Reddy in July last year in the presence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi at a public meeting in Khammam. He, however, later returned to BRS after the Congress party fielded the sitting MLA from Bhadrachalam, Podem Veeraiah. Venkat Rao, who entered the fray on a BRS ticket, defeated Podem Veeaiah of Congress by 5,719 votes.

This is the latest in a series of setbacks suffered by the BRS since it lost power to the Congress party in the state.

Earlier, former ministers Danam Nagender and Kadiyam Srihari joined the ruling party. While Nagender, an MLA from Khairatabad constituency in Hyderabad, has been fielded as a Congress candidate from the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency, Srihari, an MLA from Station Ghanpur in Warangal district, switched loyalties after his daughter Kavya was assured a Congress ticket for Warangal Lok Sabha seat.

Kavya was named the BRS candidate from Warangal but she opted out of the contest, and joined the Congress party along with her father.

In the elections held on November 30, 2023, Congress wrested power from BRS by bagging 64 seats in the 119-member Assembly. The BRS won 39 seats. With the latest defection, its strength has come down to 35 as a newly elected MLA from Secunderabad Cantonment seat died in a road accident. The BRS has also lost five sitting MPs and several other leaders to either Congress or the BJP during the last 2-3 months.

The BRS has already demanded the disqualification of Nagender and Kadiyam Srihari. It accused Congress of hypocrisy on the issue of defections. BRS working president KT Rama Rao slammed Congress for engineering defections in Telangana while promising in its manifesto for ensuing Lok Sabha elections that legislation will be brought for disqualification of any MLA or MP defecting to any party.

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