A number of MLAs openly declare their intention to desert the ruling party

As the Centre hastens the process of bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh by referring the AP States Reorganisation Bill 2013 to the Assembly, a growing number of Ministers and Congress MLAs are openly declaring their intention to desert the ruling party.

Senior leaders like J. C. Diwakar Reddy have pulled all stops in criticising the Central leadership. He even demanded that AICC president Sonia Gandhi should resign from her post in the wake of the rout in elections to four State Assemblies.

Joining the chorus against the bifurcation is Minister for Infrastructure and Investment Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who openly declared that he would quit the Congress along with his followers if the bifurcation Bill was passed in Parliament. “We will not stay for a moment in the Congress if the Bill is passed. Six other Congress MLAs and me will not hesitate to resign and explore alternatives like joining the TDP, YSR Congress and perhaps the new political party likely to be launched shortly,” Mr. Srinivasa Rao told a group of journalists, who met him here on Thursday.

Former Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao also spoke on similar lines and said that in the present political scenario, there was no alternative but to join the YSR Congress. Incidentally, Mr. Rao on Thursday signed a letter urging Speaker Nadendla Manohar to move a resolution that AP should remain united.

Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the Congress leadership has already prepared a list of Congress MLAs and MPs likely to leave the party and submitted it to the AICC for suitable action.

These include 26 MLAs, including four Ministers—three from Rayalaseema and one from Coastal Andhra. Besides, one MP is keen on joining the TDP while another is making efforts to float a new party. The MLAs likely to defect to the YSR Congress and the TDP include six from North Coastal Andhra and an equal number from East and West Godavari besides those from Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore, Kadapa, Kurnool, Anantapur and Chittoor districts.