New Delhi: In a boost to the BJP, four of the six TDP MPs in the Rajya Sabha joined the party on Thursday and sought a merger of the TDP Legislature Party with it in the Upper House.
In a day of fast-paced developments, the four MPs, led by their Rajya Sabha leader Y.S. Chowdary – long seen a trusted aide of Telugu Desam Party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu – passed a resolution to this effect, followed by a nod to the proposal by BJP president Amit Shah.
The breakaway TDP faction, which includes C.M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao and T.G. Venkatesh besides Chowdary, and BJP leaders, including its working president J.P. Nadda, met Rajya Sabha chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu and urged him to approve the merger.
The development is a big blow to Chandrababu Naidu, coming close on the heels of his party’s humiliating defeat in the recent Lok Sabha and assembly polls.
The former Andhra Pradesh chief minister is vacationing in Europe as the fresh crisis hit his party. He spoke to his party leaders over phone as they sought to put up a brave front, saying that such troubles are not new to the organisation.
Making the announcement at the BJP headquarters, Nadda told reporters that the decision of TDP MPs, three of whom were present, to join the party is due to their belief in prime minister Narendra Modi’s agenda of development and inclusiveness.
Nadda was joined by the Leader of the House in the Rajya Sabha Thaawarchand Gehlot and senior party functionary Bhupender Yadav as the saffron party welcomed the Andhra leaders into its fold.
Due to a fractured leg, Rao could not attend the joining ceremony, said Yadav.
Their induction will strengthen the party in the state, Nadda said.
Speaking to reporters, Chowdary, a minister in the first Modi government before the TDP walked out of the BJP-led NDA, the state’s development can be achieved by cooperation and not confrontation, in an apparent dig at TDP chief Naidu, who has been at loggerheads with the central government over implementation of the AP Reorganisation Act.
“The mood of the nation is clearly shown in the results of the Lok Sabha elections. We decided that we should join in this exercise of building our great nation,” he said.
Incidentally, Income Tax department had raided residential and official premises of Chowdary and Ramesh last year over allegations of tax evasion and money laundering. Both had then claimed innocence.
Earlier in their letter to Chairman Naidu, the party MPs said the Legislature Party of Telugu Desam in Rajya Sabha met under the leadership of Chowdary and Legislature party’s deputy leader Ramesh.
“Inspired and encouraged by the impeccable leadership of Shri Narendra Modi ji and the developmental policies being pursued by him in the overall interest of the nation, we have decided to merge with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with immediate effect under Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India,” they said.
The TDP leaders said that after considerable deliberations, it has been resolved to merge the Legislature Party of the TDP with the BJP with immediate effect.
The TDP Legislature party also wrote to Shah to accept the merger and convey his acceptance through a resolution to the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.
The merger will give a boost to the saffron party in the Upper House as the ruling NDA does not have a majority there.
The TDP has three members in the Lok Sabha.
The Rajya Sabha has a strength of 245 members and the BJP is the single largest party with 71 MPs.