New Delhi: Scripting a rather unfortunate day for Congress, the Telangana Assembly speaker on Thursday accepted the merger of 12 party MLAs to the ruling TRS or Telangana Rashtra Samithi, hours after they submitted a memorandum seeking the same.

With this, the Grand Old Party has been reduced to an insignificant force in Telangana as its strength in the House is now six. With 12 more in its kitty, the TRS has now 100 MLAs while the Congress has lost its status of the Opposition party in the Assembly.

Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM has seven MLAs in the House whereas the BJP has one.

Reacting on this development, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Uttam Kumar Reddy said, ” The Speaker hasn’t withheld the dignity of his office. We tried to contact him by every means but he wasn’t available for us.” Reddy and the remaining Congress MLAs had been trying to meet the Speaker since morning but according to reports he was incommunicado. Reddy earlier in the day had alleged that 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 people of Telangana”, he remarked.

He further alleged that the Speaker took some representatives from defected Congress MLAs against whom disqualification notices under anti-defection law are pending with him, and announced a merger of Congress Legislature Party. “Can anything be more disgraceful?” he asked.

Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Delhi, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, “The way the people’s mandate and democratic norms are being butchered, it’s a daylight murder of democracy.”

“Just because somebody is in power, has access to resources and can control agencies does not mean he can misuse his power,” Khera said.

Earlier in the day, N Uttam Kumar Reddy lashed out at TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao and said, “These Congress MLAs were purchased piece-by-piece by KCR. They are not a group.”

Speaking on the row, Talasani Srinivas Yadav, a TRS minister said, “They (Congress MLAs) don’t trust their party leadership so they are saying that this govt (TRS) is better as there is development & welfare in the state.”

 

With inputs from agencies