In a major setback to the Congress just 10 days ahead to the Legislative Council elections, two of the party MLAs Athram Sakku and R Kantha Rao on Saturday declared they would join Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) soon. Sakku and Kantha said they wanted to work with the Chief Minister as it would aid the development of the State, especially tribal communities.
Kantha Rao and Sakku represent Pinapaka and Asifabad constituencies, both reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
The Congress received the jolt ahead of March 12 elections to five seats of the Legislative Council. The resignations will reduce the party’s tally in 119-member Assembly to 17, dashing its hopes of winning at least one seat.
This is the first defection to the TRS from Congress after December 7 Assembly elections in which TRS was swept back to power, winning 88 seats.
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The TRS was short of six legislators when it proposed contesting for the fifth MLC seat on offer along with the MIM. With the three possible defections, the party now needs to raise the support of just three more legislators. The ruling party is confident that more legislators will join the party in the run-up to the MLC elections.
Nearly two dozen MLAs from Congress and TDP had joined TRS after 2014 Assembly elections.
In another significant development earlier on Saturday, Telugu Desam Sathupalli legislator Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, who is expected to join the TRS met Mr Rao at Pragathi Bhavan. Sandra Venkat Veraiah, who is one of the two TDP members in the Assembly, is also likely to switch loyalties to the TRS.