Five Telugu Desam Party parliamentarians – two from the Rajya Sabha and three from the Lok Sabha – met Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Friday, a day after four of the party’s MPs in the Upper House defected to the Bharatiya Janata Party and demanded their disqualification under the Tenth Schedule of Constitution, NDTV reported.
The lawmakers challenged the defection of YS Chowdary, CM Ramesh, TG Venkatesh, and GM Rao, who had met President Ram Nath Kovind and Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday, claiming they wanted to merge the TDP Legislature Party with the BJP “under Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule”.
This section lists out situations in which legislators who switch parties cannot be disqualified from the House. “The merger of the original political party of a member of a House shall be deemed to have taken place if, and only if, not less than two-thirds of the members of the legislature party concerned have agreed to such merger,” the provision says.
The Telugu Desam Party has six legislators in the Upper House. The crossover was led by Chowdary, who was recently named party’s leader in the Rajya Sabha. He was also considered to be close to Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu.
After switching parties, Chowdary said Andhra Pradesh’s development could be achieved only through cooperation and not confrontation, a dig at Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to quit the National Democratic Alliance. Chandrababu Naidu condemned the defection but said “crisis is not new to the party so leaders and cadre have nothing to be nervous about”.
Everything is fair in BJP brand of politics: Mayawati
Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati on Friday criticised the BJP for “engineering the defections”. “Yesterday [Thursday] when the president was giving assurances to the country on the behalf of the government, the BJP on the same day engineered defection of four TDP MPs,” she tweeted.
She said that the saffron party had earlier called two of the legislators “Andhra’s Mallya”, a reference to liquor baron Vijay Mallya, but now that they had joined BJP they were “as pure as milk”. “It is clear that everything is fair in BJP brand of politics and nothing is wrong,” Mayawati added.