Hyderabad: In a massive setback for the Congress in Telangana, 12 of its MLAs on Thursday (June 6) met Assembly speaker P Srinivas Reddy and submitted a representation to merge the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Congress's strength in the 119-member House came down to 18 after the party's Telangana state unit chief Uttam Kumar Reddy tendered his resignation from the Assembly on Thursday (June 6) after being elected to Lok Sabha from Nalgonda constituency.

Tandur Congress MLA Rohith Reddy also met the TRS working president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's son KT Rama Rao and pledged his loyalty to the ruling outfit.

In March this year, 11 Congress MLAs had announced that they would join the TRS. Senior Congress legislator Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy said the 12 MLAs decided to work with the chief minister for the development of the state.

Reddy further confirmed that they submitted a representation to the Speaker requesting him to merge them with the TRS.

"We held a special meeting of the Congress Legislature Party. The 12 members supported the leadership of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and wanted to work with him. We submitted a representation to the Speaker and requested him to merge us with the TRS," Reddy said.

As 12 MLAs account for two-thirds of the CLP, which has adequate strength of 18, they will not attract provisions of the anti-defection law.

If the Speaker accepts their request, the Congress may lose the opposition party status as its strength will come down to just six.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) led by Hyderabad Lok Sabha member Asaduddin Owaisi has seven members in the Assembly, while the BJP has just one.

Earlier, in December 2018, the ruling TRS won 88 seats in the Assembly polls.