New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) In a major setback to Telugu Desam Party (TDP), four of its six Rajya Sabha members on Thursday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
TDP parliamemterians Y.S. Chowdary, C.M. Ramesh, T.G. Venkatesh and G. Mohan Rao also met Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu and submitted their resignation from the TDP.
Addressing a press conference, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Bhupender Yadav said: “Four TDP Rajya Sabha members held a meeting earlier in the day where they decided to merge with the BJP.”
After the four MPs joined the BJP, party working president J.P. Nadda said the MPs were thinking for long to follow the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and for the development of Andhra Pradesh.
He said all the four MPs are grassroots leaders and they would help in strengthening the BJP in the state.
In their letter to the Rajya Sabha chairman, the TDP MPs wrote that they were “inspired and encouraged by the impeccable leadership of Narendra Modi” and were merging with the BJP.
Earlier in the day, TDP parliamentary party in Rajya Sabha held a meeting and passed a resolution requesting the Rajya Sabha chairman to immediately merge it with the BJP.
In the resolution submitted to the Vice President, they said they decided to merge TDP parliamentary party in Rajya Sabha with BJP under paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution.
Yadav said the four MPs reportedly also met BJP chief Amit Shah during the day with their letter.
With the four TDP MPs merging with the BJP, the tally of the ruling party will go up from 71 to 75 in the Rajya Sabha.
After joining te BJP here, Chowdary said, “The mood of the nation was clear in recent elections.”
Chowdary has also served as Minister of State in the Modi government till March last year when TDP pulled out of BJP-led NDA over the issue of special category status to Andhra Pradesh.
The development has plunged TDP into a crisis at a time when party president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is on a foreign trip along with his family members.
Chowdary, a former Central minister and Ramesh are considered close to Chandrababu Naidu. The two MPs have faced a series of searches by Income Tax, Central Bureau of Investigation and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in recent months.
Chowdary was named TDP leader in Rajya Sabha a few days ago.
Meanwhile, in another development, some TDP leaders including former legislators held a “secret” meeting at Kakinada amid reports that they are planning to join either BJP or YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).
Under the leadership of former MLA Thota Trimurthulu, TDP leaders belonging to Kapu community held a meeting at a hotel at Kakinada on Thursday to discuss their strategy.
The developments came amid claims by BJP leaders that several leaders from various parties in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were keen to join their party.
The TDP lost power to YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh in the recent elections. The party could secure only 23 seats in 151-member Assembly. It also won only three out of 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.