The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) received a major jolt on Thursday as four out of its six Rajya Sabha members switched to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Former Union minister YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh, G Mohan Rao and TG Venkatesh are the four leaders.
The four MPs submitted a letter to Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu seeking that they should be recognised as a separate group.
In a resolution, they wrote, "Inspired and encouraged by the impeccable leadership of Shri Narendra Modi ji and the developmental policies being pursued by him in the overall interest of the nation, we have decided to merge with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with immediate effect."
Welcoming them into the party, BJP working president JP Nadda said, "I assure them that our party believes in politics of positivism, inclusiveness. We will move forward with sabka saath, sabka vikas aur sabka vishwas.”
CNN-News18 pointed out that Chowdary and Ramesh are senior leaders of the TDP, who were earlier known to be close aides of party chief Chandrababu Naidu.
Chowdary, former Union Minister of State for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, had attracted controversy recently as the Enforcement Directorate had attached assets worth Rs 315 crore in connection with an alleged money laundering and bank fraud case against a firm promoted by him.
The ED had taken up the case on the basis of a CBI FIR filed against Best and Crompton Engineering Pvt Ltd (BCEPL) and their officials, who allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy during 2010-2013 for 'defrauding Central Bank of India, Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank'.
The exit of four MPs comes as further bad news for an already beleaguered TDP, which won only 3 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats and 23 out of 175 Assembly seats in Andhra Pradesh in the recently-concluded elections. Earlier, in the Telangana Assembly election, the TDP had allied with the Congress and put up 13 candidates, but garnered a vote share of just 3.5 percent.
The development on Thursday brings back memories of two similar revolts in the party — one staged by Nadella Bhaskar Rao in 1985 and the second one Chandrababu Naidu in 1995 against the party’s founder NT Rama Rao.
Hindustan Times had recently quoted BJP leaders as saying that over a dozen Congress and TDP leaders are likely to cross over to the saffron camp following the Lok Sabha election results.
The reported decision of the TDP MPs to jump ship to the BJP follows a trend that is playing out across the country. Only days earlier, a Trinamool Congress MLA and 15 councilors of the party in West Bengal joined the BJP in New Delhi.
Noapara MLA Sunil Singh, along with the 15 TMC councillors and another Congress councilor, joined the BJP on Monday in the presence of general secretary and West Bengal in-charge Kailash Vijayvargiya, and senior leader Mukul Roy.
With inputs from PTI and 101Reporters
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Updated Date: Jun 20, 2019 21:14:35 IST