“I assure them that the BJP believes in politics of positivity and inclusiveness,” Nadda said while welcoming the TDP members.
TDP MPs C M Ramesh Y Satyanarayana Chowdary, T G Venkatesh and Garikapati Mohan Rao also wrote to Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu announcing their decision to merge with the BJP. The development comes at a time when TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu is on holiday in Europe with his family.
“For the sake of development of my Rayalaseema region I want to join BJP. The BJP also wants to increase its members in Rajya Sabha so I have agreed. It will take some time. Obviously, I will quit TDP,” Venkatesh, who hails from Kurnool, told The Indian Express. Venkatesh said he was speaking for himself and was not aware of the plans of his colleagues.
The drama unfolded shortly after 2 pm when the four MPs submitted a letter to Rajya Sabha chairman Venkaiah Naidu expressing their desire to join the BJP. The four are likely to escape anti-defection laws as they havê a 2/3rd majority among the six TDP MPs in Raya Sabha. Sources said that Ramesh and Chowdary made the first move and then got Venkatesh and Mohan Rao on board to avoid the anti-defection laws.
While Ramesh is currently being probed by the Income-Tax, Chowdhary, who served as union minister till 2018, is under the CBI and Enforcement Directorate scanner in connection with a bank fraud case.
TDP AP president Kala Venkat Rao said that party chief Naidu sent him a message condemning the BJP’s efforts to woo its MPs. However, sources in the TDP said that both Ramesh and Chowdary are extremely close to Naidu and they may have already informed him about their plans.
The TDP suffered a humiliating defeat in assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh. The party was reduced to just three MPs in Lok Sabha. On Wednesday, TDP leader in Lok Sabha Galla Jayadev and party whip K Rammohan Naidu, while declaring their support for newly elected Speaker Om Birla, said that they would extend full cooperation to the Narendra Modi Government. This is contrary to the anti-Modi stand taken by the TDP prior to the elections.