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Hyderabad: Dismissing the Congress's criticism about merger of 12 party MLAs with the ruling TRS, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao Thursday said it happened as per constitutional provisions. 

Rao's remarks came in the Assembly when Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader M Bhatti Vikramarka referred to the issue of merger. "They came as per 10th Schedule of the Constitution," he said. Referring to the recent instances of opposition members joining the ruling parties, he cited the examples of TDP Rajya Sabha members joining the BJP and Congress members merging with the BJP in Goa. "Why do you blame us?... Why do they leave if you have leadership ability," he said. He also said the matter was sub-judice.

Referring to the merger of 12 Congress MLAs with the TRS, Vikramarka alleged that leaders were being merged with the ruling party regardless of the party they are elected. The merger issue figured during debate on certain bills.

The Congress members held placards with 'Save Democracy' written on them. Vikramarka also announced a walkout by his party, alleging he was not being allowed to speak. The Congress had won 19 of the total 119 seats in the Assembly polls held in December last. While 12 MLAs merged with the TRS, one member (state Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy) quit after being elected to Lok Sabha. Consequently, the strength of Congress came down to six.
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