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Countdown to Naidu losing LOP status?

Countdown to Naidu losing LOP status?

With the defection of Chirala MLA Karanam Balaram from the Telugu Desam Party to YSR Congress on Thursday, the media has started speculating that the countdown has begun for TDP president and former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu losing his leader of opposition status in the state assembly.

If the TDP chief has to secure his Opposition leader status, his party should have one-tenth of the total number of seats in the state assembly. So, out of 175 members, the TDP should have a minimum of 18 seats.

A leader of opposition enjoys the rank of a cabinet minister with adequate security, a separate chamber in the state assembly, besides other paraphernalia and allowances.

The TDP has 23 MLAs in the assembly, of them three MLAs have pledged their support to YSR Congress party – Vallabhaneni Vamsi Mohan of Gannavaram, Maddali Giridhar of Guntur (West) and Karanam Balaram of Chirala assembly constituencies.

If three more MLAs also shift their loyalties from the TDP to YSRC, the strength of the TDP in the assembly will come down to 17. In such a case, Naidu will be losing the leader of the opposition status.

Though it is not yet clear as to who these three more MLAs are who would be deserting the TDP, social media is abuzz with the talk that senior MLAs like Ganta Srinivasa Rao, Payyavula Kesav and Gadde Rammohan Rao are likely to defect to the YSRC, if everything works out.

But there is a technical issue in denying Leader of Opposition status to Naidu. The three MLAs who shifted loyalties to YSRC till now have not resigned from the TDP till now and as per the assembly records, they still continue as the TDP members technically. So will be the case with the three other MLAs who are likely to jump into the YSRC.

Unless all these six MLAs resign from their assembly membership and get elected again on YSRC ticket, the TDP will continue to have 23 MLAs in the records and Naidu will continue to enjoy the Leader of Opposition status.

Otherwise, two-thirds of the TDP MLAs have to resign en masse and join the YSRC as had happened in Telangana, to avoid being disqualified and losing assembly membership.

It would mean, as many as 16 TDP MLAs have to resign from the party and join the YSRC, leaving the TDP with only seven members.

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Tags: TDP Chandrababu Naidu Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy Leader of Opposition