Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Perturbed by the continuing desertions by senior leaders, Telugu Desam Party president N. Chandrababu Naidu has decided to cut short his ongoing “Mee Kosam” yatra from 150 days, as originally planned, to 110 days.

He is said to have conveyed this to the party’s district presidents and general secretaries during a teleconference on Thursday. The leaders expressed concern at the way the leaders were leaving the party even as the yatra was having a good impact on the cadre and the people. With enough goodwill generated by the yatra, they suggested that Mr. Naidu return to Hyderabad and concentrate on strengthening the party and preparing it to face the challenge posed by film star Chiranjeevi’s entry into politics. A sense of insecurity was creeping into the leaders and Mr. Naidu should try to remove it. They wanted him to mollify some seniors who, they said, were aggrieved. Mr. Naidu indicated that he could call off the yatra on the 110th day by holding a rally in Anantapur.

Nalgonda Staff Reporter adds:

Mr. Naidu said the vote of any party member, who crossed the fence, should be declared invalid. “What is the use of punishing them under the anti-defection law after six months?” he asked.