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Telangana: Congress leaders stage protest against arrest of Congress legislature party leader on hunger strike

Vikramarka, Congress Leader of Opposition in Telangana Assembly was on a "satyagraha fast" over what he alleged the "undemocratic" merger of 12 out of 18 Congress MLAs with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Congress leaders in Telangana staged a ‘rasta roko’ protest at the BN Reddy circle Tuesday. They were protesting against the arrest and subsequent hospitalization of Telangana Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka.

The Telanaga police had on Monday taken Vikramarka into preventive detention and shifted him to the Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS) in view of his deteriorating health condition.

Vikramarka, Congress Leader of Opposition in Telangana Assembly was on a “satyagraha fast” over what he alleged the “undemocratic” merger of 12 out of 18 Congress MLAs with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

On Saturday, he started a 36-hour fast but later decided to sit indefinitely in a bid to exert pressure on Assembly Speaker P Srinivas Reddy to disqualify the 12 MLAs who defected to the TRS.

Even on June 6, as news about 12 MLAs meeting the speaker surfaced, Vikramarka had expressed his resentment over the defection by wrapping up his mouth with a black ribbon. He was then accompanied by TPCC president Uttam Kumar Reddy and Congress MLA Sreedhar Babu.

Meanwhile, the MLA on Monday had to call off the protest after he was forcibly shifted to a hospital by the Hyderabad police. The Telangana National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) staged the ‘rasta roko’ in protest after police forcibly removed Vikramarka from hunger strike camp at Indira Park in Hyderabad as his condition started to deteriorate.

After visiting Vikramarka at the hospital, Reddy divulged that he wanted to know why the Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was trying to lure Congress legislators into his party though he has an unassailable majority in the Assembly.

“It appears he is doing all this to ensure there is no one to question the government’s actions in the Assembly,” Reddy said.

Reddy further accused speaker P Srinivas Reddy of inaction with respect to Congress’ complaints against the defection of its MLAs. “When our MLAs had joined TRS, separately, we complained to the speaker. However, later it was announced the MLAs had been merged into the TRSLP. It was made to sound as if the MLAs had joined TRS en masse. This is not true,” he said.

Reddy said that Congress had already filed a petition in the High Court and if necessary, the party will knock on the doors of the Supreme Court for justice.

The TPCC chief said he had even sought an appointment with the President of India to explain to him how the anti-defection law had been circumvented to admit the Congress legislators into the TRS.

On June 6 as many as 12 out of 18 MLAs of the Congress party had met Telangana assembly speaker to join Chief Minister’s party, TRS.

Prior to the Lok Sabha elections, 8 Congress MLAs had defected to TRS after meeting the chief minister.

In fact, not only the MLAs but many other party leaders who seem to be disenchanted with their party leaders are joining the ruling TRS.

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