Hyderabad: With the 11th MLA from the party joining the TRS, the Congress Legislature Party on Tuesday rushed to attempt and contain potential damage with two senior Congress leaders going to Banswada in Kamareddy district to meet with Assembly Speaker Poccharam Srinivas Reddy.
The Congress leaders submitted a Disqualification Petition on Chirumarthi Lingaiah, Banoth Haripriya Naik, Jalala Surender and Kandala Upender Reddy, all Congress MLAs who had earlier announced they were joining the Telangana Rashtra Samiti.
Congress Legislature Party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, former Minister Md Ali Shabbir who met with Srinivas Reddy, also gave him a letter asking the CLP to be informed in the event of any request from the MLAs who deserted Congress seeking a merger of the CLP with Telangana Rashtra Samiti Legislature Party.
Earlier, the CLP had submitted disqualification petition against six other Congress MLAs who too had said they were joining the TRS. Tuesday’s petition takes to 10 the number of MLAs who won on Congress tickets and against whom the CLP has sought disqualification action by the Speaker.
Vikramarka and Shabbir Ali urged the Speaker to take action on the disqualification petition and keep the CLP informed on any merger request.
It may be recalled that 19 MLAs had won on the Congress ticket in the December 2018 Assembly elections. While 10 Congress MLAs had previously said they were leaving their party and joining TRS, a 11th, Gandra Venkataramana Reddy who won from Bhupalapalli, declared on Monday night that he too was joining the TRS.
With 11 of its members leaving, the Congress strength in the 119 member Assembly falls to 8 from the original nineteen. If one more of its MLAs decides to leave and join TRS, then the breakaway group can claim immunity as it would have two thirds of the total number of MLAs elected on Congress party symbol and seek a merger with TRSLP without attracting the provisions of the Anti-Defection Law.