The only two TDP MLAs in Telangana join the TRS

Published : April 08, 2021 16:10 IST

Sandra Venkata Veeraiah (second from left) and Mecha Nageshwara Rao (third from left) join the TRS in the presence of TRS chief and Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (extreme left), in Hyderabad on April 7. Photo: PTI

Life has come full circle for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Telangana. The once-powerful political outfit that until the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State was a political behemoth lost its last two remaining legislators.

On April 7, Mecha Nageshwara Rao, who represents the Ashwaraopet constituency, and Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, who represents the Sathupalli constituency, handed over a letter to the Assembly Speaker Pocharam Sreenivas Reddy requesting that the Telugu Desam Legislature Party (TDLP) be merged into the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi Legislature Party (TRSLP). Both the legislators had a meeting with K. Chandrasekhar Rao, Telangana Chief Minister and TRS president, at Pragathi Bhavan before meeting the Speaker.

While the news of the two legislators jumping ship was no great surprise, it was still a moment to introspect for a party that was founded on the principle of self-respect for the Telugu people by superstar-turned-politician N.T. Rama Rao in 1982. The TDP, which had captured power almost immediately in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State, winning the 1983 Assembly elections by a landslide, was in power until 1989 and again between 1994 and 2004.

But the party has been on a downslide in Telangana ever since. In the 2014 general elections that were held just a month prior to the bifurcation of the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh State, the TDP, which got into an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was able to hold its own, winning 16 Lok Sabha seats. Later in the year it formed the government in the residual State. However, the party has found the going tough ever since.

A bulletin issued by the Secretary of the State Legislature stated that the two TDP legislators submitted a letter to the Speaker declaring that they had resolved to merge the TDLP with the TRSLP under Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India and requested him (the Speaker) to take appropriate action. The TRS, too, had written to the Speaker indicating its acceptance of the two TDP legislators into their party and the merger of the TDLP into the TRSLP. The bulletin further stated that the merger has been deemed and the two members allotted seats in the Assembly along with the TRSLP legislators.

While Sandra Venkata Veeraiah had earlier switched loyalties to the TRS in March 2019, Nageshwara Rao’s reason for jumping ship was that as a member of the ruling party, he could serve the people better. He told reporters that he was not able to do justice to the people of his constituency during the past two and a half years.

The two legislators’ decision to join the TRS has strengthened the party. The TRS now has 101 members (including the support of two independents) in the 119-member Telangana Assembly. The AIMIM, the Congress, and the BJP have 7, 6, and 2 legislators respectively. The TRS, which won 88 seats in the 2018 Assembly elections, later saw 12 Congress legislators joining it. The party, however, lost the Dubbak byelection, occasioned by the death of the TRS legislator representing the Dubbak constituency. The seat was won by the BJP.

Another byelection has now been necessitated in the Nagarjuna Sagar segment because of the death of Nomula Narsimhaiah. The byelection is scheduled for April 17, with the results being declared on May 2.

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