New Delhi: In a setback to the ruling Congress in Andhra Pradesh, two Congress MPs and a senior leader from Telangana Thursday announced their decision to join the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).
Lok Sabha members G. Vivek and Manda Jagannatham and former Congress Working Committee (CWC) member K. Keshava Rao announced this after a meeting with TRS chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao here.
The announcement came as the deadline set by them for the Congress leadership to take a favourable decision on formation of Telangana state ended Thursday.
The Congress leaders said they would formally join TRS at a public meeting in Hyderabad June 2.
Vivek's brother and former state minister G. Vinod also decided to join TRS. Vinod is also the president of the Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA).
Keshava Rao said after waiting for several years for Congress to take a decision, they were joining the TRS to respect people's sentiments.
Vivek, son of senior Congress leader and former union minister G. Venkat Swamy, represents Pedapalli constituency while Jagannatham represents Nagarkurnool.
The MPs were reportedly assured by TRS that they would get TRS tickets from the same constituencies to contest next year's elections.
Keshava Rao, who had been leading pro-Telangana Congress leaders from the region, said they had not joined TRS for any post. He also declared that he would not contest elections.
However, another MP, S. Rajaiah, who was also planning to join TRS, backed out at the last minute as TRS reportedly did not give him an assurance that he would be fielded again for Lok Sabha from Warangal.
TRS reportedly advised him to contest for assembly elections as the party has promised Warangal Lok Sabha seat to Kadiam Srihari, who recently quit Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to join TRS.
Four other Congress MPs from Telangana, who have been fighting for separate Telangana state, have also decided against joining TRS.
Out of 17 Lok Sabha members from Telangana, Congress has 12 MPs. Three of them are ministers at the centre while two others have never been part of pro-Telangana group.