12 TDP MLAs merged with TRS

Speaker S. Madhusudana Chary on Thursday merged the 12 Telugu Desam MLAs who have defected to the TRS in the latter’s party as they constituted more than two-thirds of TDP strength in the Assembly and hence did not invite anti-defection provisions. The Telangana legislature put out a bulletin to the effect on its website in the evening.

Mr. Chary based his decision on the letter by former floor leader of TDP in Assembly E. Dayakar Rao when he joined the TRS along with another MLA T. Prakash Goud recently. On Wednesday, two more TDP MLAs Maganti Gopinath and Arikepudi Gandhi sent another letter to the Speaker stating that they should also be included among the names mentioned by Mr. Dayakar Rao.

The TDP had 15 MLAs when the Assembly was constituted following elections in 2014. As ten of them had switched loyalty to TRS by the time he and Mr. Prakash Goud had quit TDP, Mr. Dayakar Rao filed a petition with the Speaker that they had fulfilled requirements insulating themselves from anti-defection laws.

Interestingly, Mr. Rao had petitioned the Speaker earlier seeking disqualification of TDP MLAs who quit prior to him as the floor leader.

The TDP suspended all the legislators who quit and appointed Kodangal MLA Mr. A. Reventh Reddy in Mr. Rao’s place.

Mr. Reddy and Mr. S. Venkata Veeraiah, both of whom are accused in the cash for vote scam that rocked TDP last year, and Mr. R. Krishnaiah are the only MLAs left in TDP.

Sources said Mr. Reddy and Mr. Veeraiah were obviously unwelcome in TRS as they were tainted but Mr. Krishnaiah had taken a principled stand not to quit TDP though he had distanced himself from the party activities after elections.

The Speaker’s decision followed his meeting with the Advocate General K. Ramakrishna Reddy in the Assembly on Wednesday.

The bulletin issued by the legislature on Thursday observed that the Speaker allotted seats to the defected TDP members along with those of TRS in the House.

TDP to take legal route

However, the Telangana TDP president L. Ramana told The Hindu that the decision would be contested in court.

He said the defectors were not immune to anti-defection laws because they contemplated that the merger should take place at the behest of the party with resolutions from village, mandal, district and State-level bodies. Individual MLAs cannot seek merger with another party on their own.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 11:30:56 PM |

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