Ganta, four MLAs from the district decide to sail with TDP

Ending months of suspense, former Infrastructure and Investment Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao and four MLAs from the district have decided to sail with the TDP tilting the scales heavily in favour of the party in the district. The move comes with Congress’ prospects turning bleak after two successive terms at the helm and people’s ire against bifurcation of the State.

A day after TDP president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu addressed the Praja Garjana meeting at Vizianagaram, the five met him at Hyderabad.

Besides Mr. Srinivasa Rao, Elamanchili MLA U. V. Ramanamurthy Raju, P. Rameshbabu (Pendurti), M. Srinivasa Rao (Bheemunipatnam) and Chintalapudi Venkatramaiah (Gajuwaka) are the others who met Mr. Naidu. They are likely to formally join TDP at the Mahila Sadassu to be organised here on March 8 which Mr. Naidu is attending.

The former Minister joining TDP was almost confirmed when Mr. Chandrababu Naidu flew down to attend the wedding of his daughter in Visakhapatnam in last December.

“Congress withstood the TDP onslaught in the district even at the height of the party’s performance like in 1994. Whether they won or lost, leaders did not desert Congress. Now we see it happening for the first time in 56 years. For the first time, the district Congress will in all probability be left with a mere three of the 15 legislators,” said a former TDP Mi nister.

Sources said not all those who are joining TDP will now be given re-nomination.

Mr. Ganta Srinivasa Rao is tipped to contest from Anakapalle for the Assembly or for the Lok Sabha from Visakhapatnam.

Barring Mr. Raju, the other four were elected from Praja Rajyam Party (PRP) founded by Chiranjeevi in 2009 and later became the ruling party MLAs with the actor-turned-politician merging the party with Congress.

With the latest development, Congress was left with only four MLAs with even some of them looking for alternatives.

With TDP MLAs already representing Araku, Madugula, Chodavaram and Visakhapatnam East, Congress is left with Tribal Welfare Minister P. Balaraju, Government Whip Dronamraju Srinivasa Rao, Mutyala Papa (Narsipatnam) and Malla Vijay Prasad (Visakhapatnam West). Mr. Vijay Prasad is also planning to leave Congress, it was learnt.