TDP MPs Set to Join BJP, Party Likely to Split in Rajya Sabha
The current spell of political crisis is only deepening further for the Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party. Four out of six Rajya Sabha members of the TDP are all set to split from the party and witch to the BJP, highly placed sources have told News18.
YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh are among the TDP Rajya Sabha members who are expected to switch over to the saffron party. TG Venkatesh has confirmed his decision to join the BJP.
"Yes I am leaving TDP. I will join the BJP. I have been a former member of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarti Praishad and Bharaitya Janata Yuva Morcha," Venkatesh was quoted as saying by the ANI.
Four TDP members will give BJP an extra edge in the upper house of the Parliament where, unlike Lok Sabha, it does not enjoy a simple majority. The opposition is expected to offer resistance to several key legislations, as it did last time, introduced by BJP. Because two-thirds of the party's strength is going to merge with the BJP it is unlikely to invite penalties under the anti-defection law.
The anti-defection law, added to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule by the 52nd amendment during Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure as the Prime Minister in 1985, makes it mandatory that two-thirds of the strength of a party should agree for a ‘merger’.
TDP is already suffering from a huge crisis, having lost 22 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats, and 151 out of 175 assembly seats to Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP). The party currently has a strength of 8 MPs, five of which are members of the Rajya Sabha and the remaining three of Lok Sabha.
According to sources TDP Rajya Sabha MPs will frame a resolution and submit it to the Rajya Sabha chairperson requesting a formal merger. Speaking on the developments TDP leader Lanka Dinakaran told News18," I don't know how far this is true but I feel strongly that many TDP leaders are disgruntled by the loss. Till now no one has taken responsibility [for the poll debacles] and there has so far been no introspection by top leaders."
Among those who are likely to join BJP is YS Chowdary's whose Sujana group of companies, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently claimed, had defrauded banks to the tune of Rs.5,700 crore. Officials of the ED and the Income Tax department had in November last year carried out multiple raids at his residence and offices in Hyderabad.