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12 Telangana Congress MLAs seek merger with TRS

Remaining 06 Congress MLAs wore black ribbons around their mouth to lodge their protest over the defections

Thursday June 6, 2019 10:44 PM, IANS

Telangana Congress Cheif

[The development came a day after Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy resigned from the Assembly after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nalgonda in the recent elections.]

Hyderabad: Twelve Congress MLAs in Telangana on Thursday urged the state Assembly Speaker to merge Congress Legislature Party (CLP) with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The group of 12 members of Assembly belonging to the main opposition Congress called on Speaker P. Srinivas Reddy and submitted him a letter, seeking CLP's merger with the TRS. They later went to Pragati Bhavan, the official residence of Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao.

While 11 MLAs had already announced that they will join TRS, Rohit Reddy from Tandu constituency also declared switching loyalty to TRS and joined the group of defectors.

Congress Members Protest

Following this development, CLP leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, state Congress chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, senior leaders D. Sridhar Babu, Mohammed Ali Shabbir and other leaders began a flash protest at Mahatma Gandhi statue in the Assembly premises.

They wore black ribbons around their mouth to lodge their protest over the defections. They demanded that the MLAs who were elected on their party symbol but were now seeking merger with TRS should be disqualified.

The Congress leaders said they made several representations to the Speaker for disqualification of MLAs but he took no action but now he seems to be acting swiftly on the request of defectors.

Uttam Kumar Reddy questioned the Speaker as to how he can take a decision on merger when their petition was pending in the High Court.

Before meeting the speaker, the defectors called on TRS working president K. T. Rama Rao and informed him that they have the required majority to seek CLP's merger with TRS.

In Assembly elections held in December last year, the Congress had won 19 members in 120-member Assembly (including a nominated member).

Under Anti-Defection Act, the defectors required two-third majority to seek merger with any party.

The development came a day after Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy resigned from the Assembly after he was elected to the Lok Sabha from Nalgonda in the recent elections.

This brought down Congress' strength to 18 and the defectors required 12 MLAs to seek CLP's merger with TRS.

'Daylight Murder of Democracy'

The Congress described the development as a "daylight murder of democracy". Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters here, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said: "The way the people's mandate and democratic norms are being butchered, it's a daylight murder of democracy."

"Just because somebody is in power, has access to resources and can control agencies does not mean he can misuse his power," Khera said.

"These Congress MLAs were elected after the voters rejected the TRS. This is the murder of people's mandate. India may ignore it today, but it will never forget disrespect of mandate," he said.

Earlier, Congress Legislature Party in state Legislative Council merged with TRS in a similar way. If this happens in Assembly, the Congress will lose the status of main opposition.

A party needs one-tenth of the strength pf a House to have the status of main opposition.

TRS had won 88 seats in Assembly elections. After the polls, two independents and one of the two legislators of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) joined the TRS. If 12 Congress MLAs join TRS, the strength of the ruling party will go up to 103.

This will bring down the Congress tally to six. In such a scenario, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) will get the status of main opposition. AIMIM, an ally of TRS, has seven MLAs.

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