Hyderabad: After as many as 12 MLAs crossed over to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the state, a disgruntled Congress has decided to move high court on June 10. The party has also announced state-wide protests against the Assembly Speaker’s decision in recognising their merger.

The Congress also alleged that the TRS had “purchased” the MLAs and was looking to approach the Lokpal and also raise the issue in the upcoming Parliament session.

As Congress activists took to the streets in various parts of Telangana on Friday protesting against the merger, state Congress president Uttam Kumar Reddy announced that the leader of the opposition in the Assembly Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka will stage a 36-hour long fast here from 11 am on Saturday. He also said Congress would hold protest demonstrations across the state from Saturday.

Also read: Telangana: TRS defends defection of 12 Congress MLAs to join KCR-led party

TRS spokesperson Abid Rasool Khan spoke to MyNation and said that the fast is only a publicity stunt. Khan further went on to say, “If the Congress was truly so concerned, then they should have gone and served the people. But they never bothered.”

Another member who had left the Congress for the TRS and grabbed headlines for it was Krishank Manne, who was the Congress spokesperson in Telangana.

Manne threw light on why the MLAs may have decided to join the TRS. He said, “Each MLA has a different reason. But several members have been against Uttam Kumar Reddy and sought his removal. But when that didn’t happen, they decided to join the TRS.”

Furthermore, Manne questioned, “Why would someone want to be part of a sinking ship? Especially when there is a leadership crisis.”

Speaking about allegations of the TRS “purchasing” the lawmakers, Manne asked, “Why would the TRS purchase these MLAs when they are already in majority?”

MyNation tried to contact the Telangana Congress, however, they remained unavailable for comment, including the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) chief Uttam Kumar Reddy, who disconnected calls.

Also read: Telangana Congress MLAs seek to merge with Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS

On Thursday, Telangana Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy recognised 12 MLAs of the Congress as members of the TRS hours after they sought merger of their group with the ruling party.

The Speaker acceded to the request of the MLAs considering the fact that they constituted two-thirds of the Congress Legislature Party, a requirement for merger under the anti-defection law.

The Congress had won 19 seats in the Assembly polls in December last year, but in the past few months, 11 of the MLAs had switched loyalties to the TRS though officially they did not resign.

A day after Uttam Kumar Reddy resigned as MLA following his victory in the Lok Sabha election and the seat was declared vacant, Rohith Reddy, on Thursday, joined the rebels, boosting their strength to the two-thirds figure of 12. The MLAs have said they were joining the TRS for the development of the state.

A bulletin from the Assembly on Thursday night said seats had been allotted to the 12 MLAs along with the members of the Telangana Rashtra Samithi Legislature Party in the House.

Unless the merger is reversed, the Congress is set to lose its ‘opposition party’ status in the Assembly as its strength has come down to six.

The setback for the Congress in Telangana came at a time when the party has been on the backfoot in several states including Karnataka and Rajasthan following dissidence among its ranks after the Lok Sabha election drubbing.

Addressing reporters here on Friday, Uttam Kumar Reddy had said the party would file a petition in the Telangana high court on Monday against the merger of its MLAs.

There is already one petition pending in the high court (related to defection of MLAs). “On Monday, we are filing another petition and on June 11, our earlier petition will come up for hearing," he said.

Uttam Kumar Reddy had also said the party was collecting evidence in support of its case to be filed before the Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Congress general secretary in-charge of party affairs in Telangana RC Khuntia, who was also present, had said the issue of defections would be raised in the next Parliament session.

A group of students from the Osmania University staged a protest rally and symbolically performed the "last rites" of the MLAs, who switched over, a Congress release said.