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Will the Congress party retain the status of main Opposition in the Telangana Assembly? This question is plaguing the Telangana Congress leaders in the wake of serial defections of party legislators to the ruling TRS of late.

          The  Telangana Congress leaders are not only worried over exodus but also seething with anger at the failure of the Central as well as State leadership of the party for not taking any steps to  ward off the defections and keep the flock together by infusing the needed confidence among the party cadre and leaders.

           The crisis in the party deepened further with Chittem Rammohan Reddy, MLA from Makthal of Mahbubnagar district, jumped into the TRS bandwagon the other day. Since he is brother of former Congress minister D.K. Aruna and hails from a politically strong and influential family in the district, his changing loyalty has come as a rude shock to the party in the Telangana State.

          The Congress, which had won 21 seats in the 119-member Telangana Assembly in the 2014 elections, is now left withy only 14 members with the defection of the Makthal legislator. Earlier, DS Redya Naik (Dornakal), Yadaiah (Chevella), Vithal Reddy (Mudhole) and Kanakaiah (Yellandu) jumped from the Congress and embraced the pink party. It is also pertinent to note here a number of Congress MLCs too jumped off the ship and noted among them was former APCC president D. Srinivas.

          Though all the Congress turncoats claimed that they had joined the TRS for the sake of overall development of the State and be part of the ruling party’s endeavor to usher in “ Bangaru Telangana”, there is no denial of the fact that they had been trapped by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s meticulously planned and diligently implemented” Operation Akarshan”. The bait for luring them into the TRS was undoubtedly some sort of political power, though till now only D. Srinivas was rewarded with the post of Advisor to the Government, which is a post with cabinet minister’s rank.

              The recent defection Chittem Rammohan Reddy also triggered off speculations that his sister DK Aruna too was waiting in the wings to join the TRS. However, the former minister stoutly denied the rumors and declared that she would rather beg on the streets than join the TRS. She also took the opportunity to lash out at KCR for encouraging a rift within her family. At the same time, she also was irked that the TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy and Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly K. Jana Reddy were not taking required measures to counter KCR’s game plan to decimate the Congress in the State. What is more, Congress Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao also did not spare AICC general secretary in-charge of the State party affairs Digvijay Singh in this regard and quipped that making trips from New Delhi to Hyderabad in the morning and leaving by night would not solve the crisis. He stressed the imperative need to initiate brainstorming sessions of party leaders and cadre to infuse confidence among them. This seemed to have provoked both Uttam Kumar Reddy and Jana Reddy to criticize KCR of encouraging defections and demanded the imperative need for bringing in the required amendments in the Anti-defection Act to check exodus from one party to another.

          As if to rub salt to injury, minister Jupally Krishna Rao, while interacting with the media disclosed that a few more Congress MLAs would be joining the TRS soon, though he did not name them. This seemed to have sent jitters in the Telangana Congress and they were worried that the party might even lose its Main Opposition status in the Assembly if more members fall a prey to KCR’s “Operation Akarshan”. As of now, the Congress strength in the Assembly has come down to 14 and to retain its Opposition status it should have a minimum of 12 members. In the event of three more members defect to TRS, the Congress is bound to lose its Opposition status in the Assembly. Thus the Congress and the ruling TRS are seriously engaged in one-upmanship game ---- the former to retain its Opposition status, the latter to decimate the former in the Assembly. 

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