In yet another major setback to the Congress in Telangana, a member of parliament and a state legislator from the main opposition party decided to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
The Lok Sabha member from Nalgonda, G. Sukhender Reddy, and the member of the state assembly from Miryalaguda, Bhaskar Rao — both of the Congress — announced on Monday that they will formally join the TRS on June 15.
Former MP G. Vivek and his brother, and former Andhra Pradesh minister G. Vinod also announced their decision to switch loyalties to the TRS. The decision comes a day after the Congress leaders met Chief Minister and TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao and amid internal squabbles in the opposition party.
Sukhender Reddy told reporters that they were joining the TRS to pay back to the people of Telangana. He said they took the decision to help Chandrasekhar Rao in his efforts to develop the new state. The MP said he would take a decision on resigning from the Lok Sabha at an appropriate time.
Sukhender Reddy was one of the two Congress leaders who managed to win Lok Sabha seats in 2014 despite the TRS wave. The TRS, which won 11 seats, has now increased its tally to 13 with the YSR Congress party's lone MP from the state, P. Sudhakar Reddy, switching loyalties last month.
Bhaskar Rao is the ninth legislator from the Congress to defect to the TRS during the last two years. The latest setback came amid increasing internal differences in the main opposition party.
Some leaders have openly hit out at the party's state chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, criticising his style of functioning while some others have called party's floor leader in assembly K. Jana Reddy a 'covert' of the TRS.