: In a fresh jolt to the Telangana Congress, party MLA Beeram Harshavardhan Reddy from Kollapur Assembly constituency Wednesday announced his decision to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
Reddy, who met TRS working president K T Rama Rao, is the ninth Congress MLA to announce the decision to join the TRS ahead of Lok Sabha elections.
Reddy said if need be, he is ready to quit his (Congress) MLA seat and again contest from TRS, if needed.
In a statement, Reddy said he took the decision following assurances from TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao that compensation would be provided to evacuees of different irrigation projects in his constituency, for (positively responding) to address other issues and for overall development of his constituency.
He said he also consulted his followers and party workers before deciding to join TRS.
The desertion of the MLAs is seen as a setback to the Congress in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
It would lose the status of main opposition in the 119-member House if the eight MLAs go ahead with their decision to resign.
The party requires a minimum of 12 MLAs, being 10 per cent of the house strength, to retain the status of principal opposition party.
TRS scored a thumping win in the December 7 2018 assembly elections, winning 88 seats.
In the elections, Reddy had defeated five-time MLA Jupally Krishna Rao,who was also a minister in Rao's cabinet.
The Congress has accused the TRS of encouraging defection of its MLAs and said it would meet the Governor, besides launching a campaign against the ruling party.
Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka had in a recent statement alleged that the Chief Minister was "conspiring to eliminate the opposition as he lacked courage to answer their questions".
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