Despite KCR's efforts to keep flock together, BRS MLAs, MLCs depart

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K Chandrasekhar Rao KCR injury

K Chandrasekhar Rao (File photo)

Hyderabad: After its defeat in the Legislative Assembly elections last year, the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Bharat Rashtra Samithi is now faced with the defection of its MLAs and MLCs to the ruling Congress in Telangana.

Till date, seven MLAs and six MLCs of BRS switched over to the Congress since the Assembly polls. Several other leaders, including BRS Rajya Sabha member K Keshav Rao, his daughter and Hyderabad Mayor Vijaya Laxmi R Gadwal, also joined the Congress.

Keshav Rao has, however, quit his post after joining Congress.

With the ruling Congress and the BJP looking to consolidate their gains in the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, the BRS faces an uphill task to resurrect itself following the exodus of leaders.

BRS chief Chandrasekhar Rao has been holding meetings with party leaders and activists assuring that the party would bounce back as the ruling party is "fast losing its popularity." The series of desertions from BRS began with party MLA from Khairatabad here Danam Nagender crossing over to the Congress in March and the MLA from Gadwal, Bandla Krishna Mohan Reddy, joined the ruling party on Saturday.

Besides the MLAs, six BRS MLCs switched sides to the ruling party late on Thursday night.

Congress sources claimed that more BRS MLAs are likely to switch over to the ruling party in the days to come.

The BRS had won 39 of the total 119 Assembly constituencies in the elections held last year, while Congress came to power winning 64 seats.

BRS MLA from Secunderabad Cantonment G Lasya Nanditha died in a road accident earlier this year. The Congress won the by-poll for Secunderabad Cantonment Assembly segment, which led to an increase in its strength to 65.

With the addition of the seven BRS MLAs who crossed over to Congress, the strength of the grand old party rose to 71 in the Assembly.

With the defection of the six MLCs, Congress' strength goes up to 10 in the 40-member Legislative Council.

The BRS has cried foul over the defection of the MLAs and sought their disqualification by the Assembly Speaker.

BRS Working President K T Rama Rao has attacked Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Rahul Gandhi over the defection of MLAs and asked him if this is the way the latter is going to safeguard the Constitution.

"BRS MP Keshava Rao tendered resignation after joining the Congress party. Welcome his decision. What about the BRS MLA who defected and contested the Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket? What about half a dozen other BRS MLAs who defected to the Congress?" Rama Rao said on X.

"@RahulGandhi is this how you are going to uphold the Constitution? If you can't make BRS MLAs resign, how would nation trust that you were committed to schedule 10 amendments as per Congress manifesto? Yeh Kaisa Nyay Patra Hain?" he said.

Congress MLC and state Congress Working President Mahesh Kumar Goud, however, hit back at the BRS, recalling that BRS (then TRS) encouraged defections when it was in power (BRS had admitted 12 Congress MLAs in 2019).

How can BRS talk about defections now, he asked.

Did BRS make those who defected resign from their posts, he told PTI.

BRS often talked about dislodging the democratically-elected Congress government from power and the BRS MLAs did not approve it of, he said.

The BRS suffered a humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha polls as it drew a blank.

The Congress and BJP shared honours as they bagged eight each of the total 17 Lok Sabha constituencies in Telangana. AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi retained his Hyderabad seat.

The desertion of legislators and other leaders came against the backdrop of BRS MLC K Kavitha being jailed in connection with the Delhi excise policy case.

The arrest of Kavitha before the Lok Sabha elections came as a setback to the regional party.

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