New Delhi :
In a massive jolt to the Congress in Telangana ahead of Lok Sabha elections, eight of its legislators has joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The defection of MLAs is seen a major setback to the Congress party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. Besides the MLAs, Telangana Congress general secretary Mannick Krisshak also switched his loyality to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
The Congress MLAs who defected to the TRS are - Atram Sakku, Rega Kantha Rao, Haripriya Naik, Ch Lingaiah, P Sabita Indra Reddy, D Sudhir Reddy, Upender Reddy and Vanama Venkateswara Rao.
The Congress paty had won 19 seats in the 119 -member Telangana Assembly in December 7, 2018 elections. With eight MLAs switching loyality to the TRS, the Congress is now facing the threat of losing the main Opposition party status in the state Assembly. The party needs minimum 12 MLAs, being 10 per cent of the house strength to retain the main opposition status.
If four more Congress MLAs join the dissidents, thegroup will not attract provisions of anti-defection law. TRS scored a thumping win in the assembly electionswinning 88 seats.
Congress has accused the TRS of encouraging defection of its MLAs and said it would meet the state Governor besideslaunching a campaign against the ruling party. Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka had in a recent statement alleged the Chief Minister was "conspiring to eliminate the opposition as helacked courage to answer their questions".