Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy’s Congress government became a minority on Friday night after expelling nine of its MLAs for openly hobnobbing with Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSR Congress party. With this, the strength of the Congress fell to 146 from 155 in an Assembly of 294 members. This is two less than a simple majority of 148, excluding the Speaker’s casting vote. So, technically, the government does not command the simple majority by its own admission.
Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Botsa Satyanaraya obtained clearance from the party high command in Delhi before acting against the legislators. The PCC president told The Sunday Guardian on Saturday that he had written to the Assembly Speaker about these expulsions. Satyanarayana has not yet announced the names of the sacked MLAs officially. He said, “I do not want to utter their names but I have informed the Speaker about them.” According to the PCC chief’s office, the expelled MLAs are: Alla Nani, Sujaya Krishna Ranga Rao, M. Rajesh, Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy, Dwarampudi Chandrasekhara Reddy, Perni Nani, B. Siva Prasada Reddy, Gottipati Ravi Kumar and Komatireddy Venkat Reddy. The first four have already announced their resignation from the party and the Assembly and sent their resignations to the Speaker two months ago. But Speaker Nadendla Manohar has not invited them to verify their resignations and initiate the process to accept them as per the rules.
The Congress has been forced to act against the other five too as they openly participated in the YSR Congress’ “One Crore Signatures” campaign to secure the release of Jagan from prison. Some other Congress MLAs too have been rubbing shoulders with the YSR leaders and one of them, Jogi Ramesh even called on Jagan’s mother Y.S. Vijayamma publicly. The YSR Congress has demanded that the governor should call for a floor test of the government immediately. “We are asking for a confidence test. The Telugu Desam Party, if it is serious about the people’s problems, should come forward and topple this government,” said YSR Congress spokesperson Ambati Rambabu.