Jukkal Telugu Desam MLA Hanmanth Shinde has finally decided to quit the party and join the TRS on the lines of his political mentor Pocharam Srinivas Reddy, who had left the TDP in 2011 and got elected on a TRS ticket. In fact, rumours of Shinde’s switching his loyalty were agog when Pocharam bid TDP a goodbye, but the party leadership succeeded in convincing him to continue in the party.

With this, the number of TDP MLAs who were elected on party ticket in the district in 2009 elections has gone down from five to two. Gampa Govardhan (Kamareddi) and Pocharam Srinivas Reddy switched their loyalties earlier and got elected in by-elections.

Now, it is the turn of Mr. Shinde who was elected for the first time in 2009 from Jukkal reserved Assembly constituency.

Thus the strength of the TRS MLAs in the district has gone up to four.

Civil engineer-turned-politician Mr. Shinde entered politics in 2004 and was defeated in the same constituency by his Congress rival Soudagar Gangaram with a margin of over 12,000 votes. However, in 2009 elections he settled score by defeating Gangaram’s wife Savitri with a 30,000 majority.

Before taking the decision, Mr. Shinde held a meeting with his followers at Bichkunda mandal headquarters on Saturday, wherein a majority of the TDP workers and his followers asked him to quit the party and join the TRS citing TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s attempts to stall the formation of Telangana State. It is learnt that he would join the TRS in a couple of days.

The TDP leaders, meanwhile, took slight of Mr. Shinde’s defection saying that they were surprised for his continuation in the party till now.

“We thought that he would leave the party after Pocharam. Anyway, now only the committed and hardcore leaders remained in the party and there would be no defections henceforth,” said MLA Eleti Annapoornamma.