Party over for Naidu? Over a dozen TDP MLAs in touch with BJP

Sunil Deodhar. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi (IANS) After engineering the defection of four Rajya Sabha members of Telugu Desam Party, the BJP is now in touch with more than two-thirds of TDP MLAs in Andhra Pradesh who may join the BJP soon.

The state in-charge of Andhra Pradesh and National Secretary of BJP, Sunil Deodhar, said TDP supremo N. Chandrababu Naidu and and his immediate family are facing serious charges of corruption and the party's citadel seems to be crashing down. He said several TDP MLAs are in touch with BJP, but he refused to share their number. 

Speaking to IANS, Deodhar said the TDP was now a party with "no future as Naidu's misdeeds and acts of corruption" had been exposed. 

"From cash-for-vote scandal to various controversial government contracts awarded by his (TDP) government, Naidu seems neck-deep in corruption. That is the reason why most of MLAs, even his close aides, are deserting the party. Four MPs in Rajya Sabha have already joined us and now several other leaders are approaching us," said Deodhar, who was the main architect of BJP's historic win in the Assembly elections of Tripura. 

Though Deodhar did not comment on how many MLAs of TDP were in touch with him, sources in the party revealed that around 16-17 MLAs of TDP have approached BJP and could abandon Naidu.

At present the TDP has only 23 MLAs in the 175-member Assembly in Andhra Pradesh. The number of TDP MLAs in touch with BJP are well over the two-thirds the strength of the Telugu Desam legislature party, required under anti-defection laws, to switch loyalty. 

Earlier last week, the defection by TDP's four Rajya Sabha members came as a shock to Naidu, who suffered an embarrassing defeat in the recent general election. Sources said Naidu, President of the TDP, was on a foreign tour with his family when the defections of Rajya Sabha members took place. 

On corruption charges leveled against Naidu, the BJP National Secretary said that he is awaiting orders of the present Chief Minister, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy who has assured him that cases relating to serious fraud and corruption involving the TDP leadership would be recommended for a CBI probe.

"Let's see what is the outcome (of Jagan's assurance). If there is any dilly-dallying by Jagan on recommending a CBI probe, then we will raise the issues relating to corruption involving Naidu and his family. We know that a lot of financial irregularities were committed while building the new capital, Amravati. Cash-for-vote scandal, in which an audio of Naidu was recorded, is yet another glaring incident. There are several such cases against him (Naidu)," said Deodhar, who is also state in-charge of Tripura, ruled by BJP. 

He added: "Let me make it clear, the party is over for Naidu."

Sunil Deodhar, a full-time RSS pracharak, was handpicked by party President Amit Shah and made in-charge of Andhra Pradesh a few months back. The decision to hand over Andhra Pradesh to Deodhar was taken by the BJP leadership after he, as in-charge of Tripura, launched an aggressive campaign against the Left and toppled four-term Chief Minister Manik Sarkar's government in Agartala.

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