With just two days to go for the nomination process to begin for the April 11 elections, political defections have gained pace in Andhra Pradesh with three leaders leaving the ruling Telugu Desam Party and joining the main opposition YSR Congress. Kurnool MP Butta Renuka, who 'associated' herself with the TDP two years ago, returned to her parent YSRC Saturday evening while MLC Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy too switched over to the opposition party. The two were admitted into the YSRC by party chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.
Renuka was denied the Kurnool Lok Sabha seat as former Union Minister Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy joined the TDP from the Congress. She was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time as the YSRC nominee from Kurnool in 2014. TDP also denied Renuka the Yemmiganuru Assembly ticket, leaving her sulking.
Srinivasulu Reddy sought to contest the Lok Sabha poll from Ongole, but the TDP wanted to field him from Nellore. Peeved, he quit the TDP and also the Council membership.
Hours after being named as the party candidate for the Nellore (Rural) Assembly seat, former minister Aadala Prabhakar Reddy shocked the TDP by switching over to the YSRC. Reddy joined the YSRC in the presence of party president Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. "I regret not having joined YSRC all these days. My aim is to make Jagan the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh," Reddy said on the occasion.
Reddy remained incommunicado since Thursday night when his candidature for the Nellore (Rural) seat was announced along with 125 others, by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP). He was supposed to join the YSRC on Friday itself, but the tragedy in Jagan's family delayed the event. The YSRC chief's uncle Y S Vivekananda Reddy was on Friday found dead under suspicious circumstances at his home in Pulivendula town in Kadapa district.
Following a preliminary probe, police said the former state minister and former MP, who was the brother of late former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was murdered. Meanwhile, another TDP candidate Thota Trimurtulu from Ramachandrapuram in East Godavari district is also said to be in talks with the YSRC.
He is a sitting MLA of the TDP and has been re-nominated for the April 11 election. Former MP and former minister Konathala Ramakrishna also returned to the YSRC this evening.
He was one of the key leaders of the YSRC during its formative years but subsequently quit the party after TDP leader Dadi Veerabhadra Rao joined it. Konathala had since been fighting on the issues related to north coastal Andhra.
Though there was speculation that he might join the TDP, he chose to return to the YSRC. Interestingly, Dadi too returned to the YSRC a few days ago after leaving it a couple of years ago.
Former MP Vanga Geeta from East Godavari district too joined the YSRC this afternoon. She had earlier been with the TDP, erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party and later the Congress. Since 2014, however, she remained an 'independent'.
(With inputs from agencies.)