To rope in rebel MLAs to drive a wedge in TRS vote bank

HYDERABAD: The Congress party is planning to rope in eight of the 10 legislators expelled by the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) to drive a wedge in the TRS vote bank in the upcoming byelections. The ruling party wants these MLAs to surreptitiously throw their weight behind its nominees.

The methodology of executing this agenda seems to have been worked out -- supporters of these legislators would campaign for the Congress candidates. The Congress expects a sizeable advantage to itself with the expelled leaders’ support, albeit from behind the scenes.

Public meeting

The rebel TRS MLAs -- Mandadi Satyanarayana Reddy (Hanamkonda), Dugyala Srinivas Rao (Chennur), B. Shara Rani (Parkal SC) and Laxma Reddy (Narsampet), all in Warangal district, Narayan Rao Patel (Mudhole) and Soyam Bapu Rao (Boath ST) from Adilabad district and Kasipeta Lingaiah (Nerella SC) in Karimnagar district will become crucial in Karimnagar, Warangal, Hanamkonda and Adilabad parliamentary constituencies.

To buttress its move, the Congress plans a public meeting in Mudhole Assembly segment in Adilabad district on May 3. A large number of supporters of the rebel TRS MLA Narayan Rao Patel are expected to announce their support to A. Indrakaran Reddy, the Congress nominee from Adilabad parliamentary constituency, say sources.

However, these legislators, who may extend their tacit support, are treading cautiously on their moves. They don’t want to attract the provision of Anti-Defection Law by openly sharing platform with the ruling Congress. “As the issue of disqualification of the rebel MLAs is pending before the Speaker, they will not venture out openly in favour of the Congress,” the sources observed.

The Congress is reportedly banking on the support of Sangareddy MLA T. Jayaprakash Reddy (TRS rebel) to bolster the prospects of its candidates in Medak district.

What is the catch in the deal? The rebels may seek re-nomination in the next general elections on the Congress ticket. From the Congress point of view, the equations in the byelections are perceived to be “an entrance test” to the rebel TRS legislators.