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Updated: March 10, 2014 14:22 IST

Party-hopping season’s flavour

Ravi Reddy
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Defection is a usual phenomenon witnessed during the elections but party-hopping by seasoned politicians like a ‘tsunami’ seems to be the flavour of this poll season.

In the run up to the general elections, parties are witnessing a flurry of entries and exits after the bifurcation of State exploded like a ‘directional landmine’ on Seemandhra Congress leaders. An overwhelming majority of them are scurrying for safety to other parties to resuscitate their floundering careers.

Afraid of the worst poll rout, leaders are deserting the Congress as panic-stricken passengers try to escape from a sinking ship. Leaders unwilling to call it a day do not hesitate to rub shoulders with parties that were ‘untouchables’ till the other day.

The situation is so bad in Congress that one or the other former Ministers and MLAs is bidding goodbye and making a beeline for the TDP, YSR Congress, TRS and the BJP. At least half of the 90 former Congress MLAs in the recent Assembly have ditched the party.

‘No vacancy’ board in the YSR Congress has come as a blessing in disguise for the TDP. Former Ministers – Ganta Srinivasa Rao, T. G. Venkatesh, Erasu Pratap Reddy, Galla Aruna along with over a dozen former MLAs have shifted their loyalties. The number is likely to go up further with more leaders hinting at defections.

If it is good tidings for TDP chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, its leaders from Telangana are left to fend for themselves because of the two-eyed policy on the bifurcation issue. Unable to face the voters in the region, at least half a dozen MLAs joined the TRS in the last 10 days.

The YSR Congress was an automatic choice for several Congress leaders but the reluctance of its president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy to take more people has temporarily halted migrations. Nevertheless, the party netted a big catch in the form of former Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao, who along with two of his supporters joined the YSR Congress last month. Congress former MP Ananta Venkatarami Reddy joined the party today.

Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy’s current tour across Seemandhra is witnessing further admissions with Congress MLAs – Kothapalli Subbarayudu, K. Nageswara Rao and A. Suresh formally being admitted into the party.

Former Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s new party too is witnessing migrations with former Congress MLAs announcing their resolve to sail with him when the party is officially launched on March 12 in Rajahmundry. At least five expelled former Congress MPs, former Ministers– Pithani Satyanarayana and S. Sailajanath along with others are his key supporters.

The BJP’s big catch was former Union Minister Daggubati Purandeswari. As the date of nominations approach, parties are expecting fast track defections. Some leaders plan to retire from politics unable to face the situation. Former Minister Vatti Vasant Kumar, former MP Lagadapati Rajagopal and former MLA Daggubati Venkateswara Rao have announced their retirement.

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