In the light of 12 of its MLAs jumping ship, Congress in Telangana Thursday said it would soon organise a round-table with Constitutional experts to discuss the impact of defections. "We have decided to organise a round-table conference soon with Constitutional experts here on defections," Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka told reporters.
Speakers belonging to the judiciary and media, among others, would also be invited to the event from across the country, he said. "We will take up in-depth discussion on defections, their impact and the damage because of political persons like these (referring to Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao)," he said. Vikramarka attacked the 12 Congress MLAs who merged with TRS for their comments that they switched over to TRS because of shortcomings of state Congress leadership.
"KCR made the MLAs who changed the party to speak, like a don sitting somewhere... I strongly condemn their comments that they changed party because party leadership is not effective," he said. If the leadership is not effective, why did the MLAs approach the state party president (who is still holding the post) at the time of elections, sought the B-form and Congress symbol to contest, Vikramarka asked.
"The same leader is still the leader," he said. On the comments of the MLAs that they joined TRS in the interest of the development of their constituencies, he wondered if the segments represented by non-TRS MLAs are not part of Telangana. Is it to be construed that the Chief Minister violated Constitution and the oath of office by agreeing to develop their constituencies only if the MLAs joined TRS, he asked. If that is the case, should all other parties merge with the ruling party after any election, he said.
"That's why whatever you (12 Congress MLAs who merged with TRS) are saying, it is not meaningful," he said. They are speaking false things to avoid resigning and being disqualified after switching over to another party, he alleged. If the MLAs have confidence in themselves and the party they joined, they should quit and seek fresh mandate, he said. Congress is ready to face elections, he said. Vikramarka said he is ready for a public debate on defections.
He launched an indefinite fast last week against the merger of 12 Congress MLAs with TRS and called it off after three days following an appeal made by his party colleagues in view of his health condition. Congress has hit the streets against the merger and also announced it would meet the President on the issue, besides raising it in Parliament. Alleging that the 12 Congress MLAs have been lured into joining the TRS, Congress has approached the High Court challenging their "merger" with the TRS Legislature Party.
The 12 Congress MLAs Wednesday hit back at the opposition party's state leadership for its attack on them, saying their action was in accordance with the Constitutional provisions. MLA Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy, flanked by other Congress MLAs who joined TRS, Wednesday dismissed Congress leaders' allegations that they have been lured into joining the TRS.
"Congress party leaders' comments are surprising. (They say MLAs) joined after being offered inducements, purchased or out of fear. We are not kids to be made to fear. We are not the ones to fall for inducements. We are not sheep or buffaloes to be purchased," Reddy had said. The decision was taken in the interest of development of their constituencies and people's welfare, he said.
Telangana Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy on June 6 recognised the 12 MLAs of Congress as members of TRS, hours after they moved him, seeking merger of their group with the ruling party. The Speaker acceded to their request, considering the fact that they constituted two-thirds of the Congress Legislature Party, a requirement for merger under the anti-defection law.
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