Scores of newly-elected Telugu Desam Party ZPTC members sat huddled in the various rooms of NTR Bhavan, the party headquarters on Thursday. The horse-trading attempts and preventions by the Congress and the TDP started on Thursday, a day after the panchayat raj elections were declared. “Both parties are offering as much as Rs 1 crore for the member to switch loyalties,” said a TDP leader involved in protecting party members and luring the Congress ones.
ZPTC members from Anantapur, Warangal and Karimnagar were ‘stationed’ at the NTR Bhavan. In Anantapur, the TDP bagged 33 of the 63 seats while the Congress secured 30.If the Congress buys over three of the TDP members, it can win the ZP chairman’s post. In Karimnagar, the Congress got 22 of the 57 seats while its allies, TRS and CPI, have secured six and one seat respectively.The Congress is attempting to win over few of the 25 TDP members and corner the ZP chairman’s post. In Warangal, the Congress and TDP are tied with 23 seats a piece, while TRS has three and CPM one.
Similarly, despite the TDP winning 17 of the 33 seats in Ranga Reddy, the Congress, which secured 15 seats, is attempting to win over some TDP members and bag the now-prestigious ZP post. And the members from Ranga Reddy, who were flown to Bangalore, are also to be shifted to an undisclosed destination as the TDP apprehends that chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s son Jaganmohan Reddy, who is based in Bangalore, might attempt to lure the TDP members.
Another district where the Congress is said to be desperately seeking TDP members is Khammam. To avoid possible switch over, the TDP on Thursday shifted its ZPTC members to a farm house in Jalderpalli in Khammam, where senior district leaders of TDP and CPM are said to be keeping a close watch on them. The Congress too, is shifting its flock from one place to another to prevent poaching and horse-trading by the TDP. Some are on pilgrimage to places like Shirdi while others have been sent to places like Goa and Mumbai.Interestingly, the Congress, while claiming that they would capture all the ZP chairman posts, denies that it was holding camp meetings though ministers personally supervised the operations. While major irrigation minister P Lakshmaiah flagged off the bus to Shirdi packed with the ZPTC members from Warangal, sports minister M Satyanarayana Rao accompanied the Karimnagar ZPTC members to Hyderabad.