Another Congress MLA in Telangana defects to TRS

Hyderabad: In another jolt to the Congress in Telangana, one of its legislators Saturday announced that he was joining the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

Chirumarthi Lingaiah, who was elected from Nakrekal in December 7 polls, said he was switching loyalties for the development of his constituency. He also said if necessary, he would resign from the Assembly to contest again.

The party received the setback on a day when its President Rahul Gandhi addressed a public meeting here to launch the party’s campaign in Telangana for the coming Lok Sabha elections.

Lingaiah had a secret meeting with Chief Minister and TRS President K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday where he expressed his desire to join the TRS and Rao gave his nod.

He is the third Congress MLA to defect to the TRS in a week. Rega Kantha Rao and Atram Sakku, both tribal MLAs, had joined the TRS on March 2.

The defections drew strong protest from the Congress, which alleged that the ruling party was engineering defections and termed it as a threat to democracy.

With Lingaiah’s defection the strength of the Congress in 119-member Assembly has come down to 16, dealing further blow to its hopes of winning at least one seat in the Legislative Council.