With only weeks left for the country to go into polls, the Congress party in Telangana has been facing continuous desertion as another leader quit the party on Sunday, announcing to join the ruling TRS in the state. Krishank Manne, a prominent leader from Secunderabad, resigned from all his posts in the Congress party, citing that the reason to be TPCC (Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee) president UK Reddy not recognising his work.
Setting the Congress party flags and other election campaign materials on fire, he stated that will be joining TRS in the presence of working president of the party KT Rama Rao. In the Assembly elections held in December 2018, he was denied the MLA ticket from Secunderabad Cantonment by the Congress party.
In another blow to the Congress party, Vanama Venkateswara Rao, representing Kothagudem, announced his support to the TRS president and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, becoming the ninth Congress lawmaker to shift the boat, which had won 19 seats in the December 7 elections to the 119-member Telangana Assembly.
Earlier, TPCC SC cell chairman Arepalli Mohan joined TRS in the presence of TRS working president K T Rama Rao. Previously, Congress lawmakers Atram Sakku, Rega Kantha Rao, Haripriya Naik, Ch Lingaiah, P Sabita Indra Reddy, D Sudhir Reddy, Upender Reddy had announced their decision to shift from the grand old party to the TRS.
The desertion of the lawmakers is seen as a setback to the Congress in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, with high chances of losing the status of main opposition in the 119-member House if the eight lawmakers go ahead with their decision to resign.
The party requires minimum 12 MLAs, being 10 per cent of the house strength to retain the principal opposition status.
Meanwhile, the Congress has been accusing the TRS of encouraging defection of its lawmakers ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka had in a recent statement alleged the Chief Minister was "conspiring to eliminate the opposition as he lacked courage to answer their questions".
(With agency inputs)