With two-thirds of the party MLAs seeking merger with ruling TRS in Telangana, Congress state unit head N Uttam Kumar Reddy Thursday lashed out at Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, accusing him of ‘purchasing’ the legislators.
He also said Congress would now “fight in the courts and on the streets”.
In a jolt to the party, twelve of its 18 MLAs in the state Thursday met Assembly Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy and gave him a representation seeking to merge their group with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), headed by Rao, popularly known as KCR.
“These Congress MLAs were puchased piece-by-piece by KCR.
They are not a group”, Reddy said after a dozen lawmakers from his party met the Speaker Pocharam Srinivas Reddy seeking merger of Congress Legislature Party with TRS.
He alleged KCR had been purchasing these MLAs with his “ill-gotten money from contractors”.
Each time a Congress MLA defected to the TRS, the Congress had submitted disqualification petition to the Speaker, he said, adding, each of them should have been disqualified at that point of time itself.
“Now, they kept purchasing and last purchase of MLAs was this morning. They say they are a group, and two-third.
Supreme Court has held in many cases that Speaker does not have the power to merge a national party into a regional party”, Reddy told PTI.
Rohith Reddy, representing Tandur constituency, became the 12th MLA to jump the ship Thursday, boosting the strength of the defectors to two-third of the Congress Legislature Party, which would insulate them from action under the anti-defection law.
Earlier, since early March, 11 Congress MLAs had shifted sides.
Congress strength in the 119-member House came down to 18 after Uttam Kumar Reddy Reddy tendered his resignation from the Assembly Wednesday after being elected to the Lok Sabha from Nalgonda in the recent elections.
Uttam Kumar Reddy Thursday said they have been trying to approach the Speaker but he was not “traceable”.
“This is a completely illegal act. KCR is cheating the mandate of the peole of Telangana”, he said.
“We will fight in the courts and on the streets”, he said when asked the options that the Congress would pursue now.
The state Congress chief said they had recently filed a petition in the high court on the issue of defection of MLAs.
“High court said there is no urgency of the matter and it will hear it on June 11. We are mentioning in the high court as soon as it assembles tomorrow. If the court does not accept our plea, we will go to the Supreme Court”, he added.