Two legislators quit TDP, join Chiranjeevi’s party

January 1st, 2009 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Jan 1 (IANS) The main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in Andhra Pradesh Thursday received a jolt when two of its legislators, including deputy leader in the assembly, left the party to join the Praja Rajyam of superstar-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.TDP’s senior leader Kimidi Kala Venkata Rao and another legislator Kambala Jogulu announced in Srikakulam district that they were quitting the membership of both the TDP and the state assembly. They later formally joined Chiranjeevi’s party.

The development is a big jolt to the TDP, especially in north coastal Andhra, in the run-up to the ensuing elections.

Venkata Rao, who represented Vunukur assembly constituency in Srikakulam district, has been with the TDP ever since its inception in early 1980s and served as a minister and a Rajya Sabha member in the past. Jogulu represents Palakonda assembly constituency in the same district.

Addressing his supporters, Venkata Rao said he was forced to sever his 26-year-long association with the TDP. Both legislators said they were impressed with Chiranjeevi’s slogan of social justice and his policies.

Chiranjeevi, through a video conference from Hyderabad, welcomed both leaders and hoped his party would gain immensely by the rich political experience of Venkata Rao.

The senior TDP leader was reportedly unhappy with the “big brother” attitude of TDP parliamentary party leader K. Yerran Naidu in the party affairs in Srikakulam district.

During the last few days, TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu and other top leaders tried to convince Venkata Rao not to leave the party but in vain.

TDP sources said Venkata Rao took the decision as his constituency had disappeared in the delimitation exercise. Vunkur will be part of the new constituency Rajam which has been reserved for the Scheduled Castes.

TDP leadership had offered to field him from Etcharla constituency but local party leaders opposed this allegedly at the behest of Yerran Naidu.

Venkata Rao is the second senior-most TDP leader in Srikakulam district to quit the TDP and join the Praja Rajyam. Earlier, former minister T. Seetharam resigned from the TDP to join Chiranjeevi.

Venkata Rao was recently promoted as deputy leader in the assembly after another senior leader T. Devender Goud quit the party to float his own Nava Telangana Party.

More than a dozen top leaders, including a couple of legislators, have quit the TDP ever since Chiranjeevi launched Praja Rajyam in August last year.

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