2014, A Year of Defections

  • Turncoats rule the roost
  • Opportunism at its peak in Telangana
  • Persons who flayed TRS become ministers
  • Half of KCR Cabinet contains Aya Rams

Hyderabad, December 30: It is no exaggeration in describing 2014 as the year of defections as for as Andhra Pradesh was concerned, be it before or after its bifurcation. Undoubtedly the “Aya rams and Gaya rams” from the political tribe were in the limelight during the year for their quest for greener pastures for survival and thus triggering off an exodus from one party to another. As a matter of fact the year brought into the open the political debauchery as leaders unabashedly joined the very parties against which they had earlier spewed venom and launched a vitriolic attack.

The defection drama began to unfold once bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh has become inevitable. Though the process of separation was set in motion in late 2013, the formalities were completed in 2014 after Parliament cleared the AP Reorganization Bill in February. The scheduled elections to AP Legislative Assembly along with the Lok Sabha polls in April-May gave the much needed impetus to the opportunistic leaders to jump from one party to another.

It was the ruling Congress the worst affected due to defections. In fact the Congress was already a divided house what with the movement for separate Telangana spearheaded by TRS gaining ground. While Congress leaders from Telangana supported the cause for separation, those from the Seemandhra region stoutly opposed bifurcation of the state. However, the Assembly elections set into motion the exodus from Congress.

Minister Jupalli Krishna Rao, Rajya Sabha member K.Keshava Rao, Lok Sabha members G. Vivek and Manda Jagannadham had quit Congress and joined TRS. However, Vivek just before the elections jumped back into the Congress and faced a humiliating defeat from Peddapalli Lok Sabha constituency at the hands of a student leader Suman fielded by TRS. Many other ministers from Seemandhra region like Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Galla Aruna, T.G.Venkatesh and Erasu Pratap Reddy and former minister J. C. Diwakar Reddy left the sinking boat of the Congress and joined the Telugu Desam. Another seasoned and long-time parliamentarian Rayapati Sambasiva Rao and minister Shatrucharla Vijayarama Raju also joined the TDP. Though many of them managed to secure TDP tickets and contested the elections, some got elected due to their personal image, while others faced defeat as voters taught them a lesson for turning defectors.

Some senior central ministers belonging to the Congress like K.S.Rao and Daggubati Purandeeshwari, who were not welcomed in the TDP, joined the BJP and even managed to enter the electoral battle on behalf of their new party. Despite the Modi wave sweeping the country, the two received a severe drubbing from the electorate.

While the ruling Congress became a sinking ship both in Telangana and Seemandhra regions before the elections, the TDP and the YSRCP were the beneficiaries. However, after the elections it was TRS, which came to power in Telangana State, turned out be the most sought after party. And the TDP as well as the Congress again were ditched by their partymen who made a beeline to the pink party.  While former congress minister Konda Surekha and her husband Konda Murali, who had defected to YSRCP, dumped the party just before the elections to join TRS, others including many Congress MLCs joined the pink brigade.

The TDP also suffered a severe setback in Telangana as many senior party legislators like Talasani Srinivas Yadav , Teegala Krishana Reddy and others jumped into TRS. Even a senior who had served a minister in the TDP regime, Thummala Nageshwar Rao opted for the car (TRS symbol) by discarding the cycle (TDP symbol). Interestingly many of those who had joined TRS from other parties were provided berths in the KCR ministry. As a matter fact, half of KCR cabinet is filled with defectors from various parties.

Though before the elections there was a scramble among political leaders to join the YSRCP what with apparently bright prospects of Jaganmohan Reddy taking the reins of power in the residuary AP, the party’s drubbing at the polls made many senior leaders who had jumped into its bandwagon desert it. Senior leaders like Konathala Ramakrishna, Dadi Veerabhadra Rao have quit YSRCP and are waiting in the wings to join TDP. Jupudi Prabhakar, a staunch supporter of Jagan, quit YSRCP and joined TDP and became its spokesperson.

Some senior Congress parliamentarian like Sabbam Hari who was with YSRCP had quit at the last moment before elections. Congress leaders Harsha Kumar, Undavalli Arun Kumar and others remain rudderless after the party founded by former Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy was routed in the elections. All of those who contested on Samaikyandhra Party of Kiran tasted defeat and went into political oblivion. While some of them are planning to jump into BJP bandwagon others are waiting for a call from TDP.

Thus the year 2014, which undoubtedly would go down in political history as the year of defections, proved lucky for TRS  President K. Chandrashekhar Rao, to realize his dream of becoming a chief minister, as well as TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu to bounce back to power. (NSS)

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