Hyderabad: The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is fast losing its cadres to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress in Telangana.
In the last 10 days, TDP members from different districts, including a few state leaders, have joined the TRS on three occasions. At least 10 TDP members joined the TRS on each occasion. Similarly, at least 10 leaders switched to the Congress along with former TDP working president and MLA Revanth Reddy on 31 October.
According to information from the TRS office, TDP cadres from Mahbubnagar and Nalgonda districts, including Kancherla Bhupalreddy, an influential leader from the Nalgonda assembly constituency, which is currently held by the Congress, were officially inducted into the TRS on 30 October and 1 and 6 November.
Similarly, on 8 November, some minority leaders from the TDP were inducted into the TRS. “This is just a mind-game being played by the TRS leaders. Only a few lower-level leaders from Kondangal constituency (held by Revanth Reddy), who are Revanth’s followers, left for the Congress. Senior leaders from the TDP have not left the party,” said Ravula Chandrashekar Reddy, TDP member.
Apart from those joining the TRS, when Revanth Reddy switched to the Congress, state-level TDP leaders, including former MLAs and ministers, also shifted with him. His move reduced the number of TDP MLAs in Telangana to just two, from 15. Twelve MLAs defected to the TRS last year, and a few of them were inducted into the state cabinet after that.
“This is something that will continue for a while. Naturally, the TDP here will vanish, because second-rank leaders have nothing to stay for in the party. And going to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is not an option, because that colour will stick, and you won’t get other votes,” said Leo Augustine, former general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL).
Telangana Pradesh Congress President (TPCC) official spokesperson Sravan Dasoju said there is a lot of confusion in the TDP about its political future. “The party cadres know that the it cannot contest alone in the 2019 state assembly elections. Also, Revanth was one its vociferous leaders and he has joined the Congress,” Dasoju told Mint.
“TDP cadres have joined the TRS in the presence of state cabinet ministers in my constituency and in other districts places like Kodangal, Kalvakurthi etc recently. More are likely to follow. When Jharkhand was bifurcated from Bihar, the Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) collapsed there, as it was seen as a Bihar-based party. Similarly, the TDP will die a natural death in Telangana because it has roots in Andhra Pradesh,” said Balka Suman, TRS MP from Pedapally constituency