In a major setback to Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu, four of his six party MPs in Rajya Sabha on Thursday joined the BJP in the presence of working president J P Nadda in the national capital. TDP MPs Y S Chowdary, C M Ramesh, Garikapati Mohan Rao and T G Venkatesh met Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu and handed him a letter seeking to merge with the BJP.
BJP’s working president J P Nadda and leader of the BJP in Rajya Sabha Thawarchand Gehlot also met Naidu and submitted a proposal from BJP chief Amit Shah, saying the party has no objection to the merger of the TDP Legislature party with the BJP. Three of the four MPs later met Nadda and Gehlot at the party headquarters and joined the BJP.
Here is a look at the profile of the MPs:
Y S Chowdary
A close aide of Chandrababu Naidu, Y S Chowdary had served as union minister until the TDP pulled out of NDA in 2018. He is also one of the richest MPs with assets worth Rs 190 crore. He is currently under the CBI and Enforcement Directorate scanner in connection with a bank fraud case.
Chowdary was an entrepreneur and headed the Sujana Group of companies before taking the political plunge. He was one of the strong voices against the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
C M Ramesh
CM Ramesh was the target of Income-Tax raids last year in connection with a probe into dubious transactions worth Rs 100 crore. Calling it an attempt by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intimidate TDP, Ramesh had said, “I have been targetted because I belong to the TDP. This is an attempt to intimidate everyone who is against Modi and BJP. Anyone who questions the Centre is being raided by IT.”
Ramesh, who was elected to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament in August last year, said he had declared an income of Rs. 200 crore in the last four years and promptly paid tax.
T G Venkatesh
Industrialist and former minister T G Venkatesh had joined TDP from Congress before 2014 elections but lost the Kurnool assembly seat YSRCP’s SV Mohan Reddy. He became a Rajya Sabha member in 2016.
Garikapati Mohan Rao
Rao has been a member of Rajya Sabha since 2014.