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‘Edgy’ BRS MLAs ready to shore up Telangana Congress numbers

As the Congress government has taken oath in Telangana, the immediate focus will be on the allocation of portfolios to ministers and announcing the launch of “Congress guarantees” about social welfare schemes. But equally important will be the behind-the-scenes moves to shore up numbers in the assembly and thus reinforce the political stability of the new Revanth Reddy government that now enjoys a majority of just five in the 119-member state assembly.

Also read | Telangana votes today, results of five state polls on Sunday

There are indications that some MLAs of the defeated BRS are now feeling edgy and they are reportedly open to doing business with Congress, people familiar with the moves said. This means that the BRS leadership, which had poached around a dozen Congress MLAs after the 2018 assembly polls, now may be risking a ‘reverse play’ in due course. Even though BRS supremo K Chandrashekar Rao had formed his second government in 2018 with a bigger number of 88 MLAs, compared to 63 in the 2014 polls, he still poached about a dozen of Congress’ around 20 MLAs.

“Our government’s priority is to provide the people of Telangana an able and corruption-free administration and implement the guarantees we have promised during the elections. It is also a fact that the mood in the TRS is very gloomy and some of its elected MLAs are in touch with us for constructive cooperation,” said a senior Congress leader on condition of anonymity. Currently, the Congress has 64 MLAs and its ally, CPI, one. While it will take about 26 BRS MLAs to jump the ship safely, some shows of dissent are expected even before that.

The current lot of Congress MLAs also comprise ‘travelers’ who have done ‘parikrama’ from Congress to TRS to BJP and back to Congress, which means all the more reasons for the party to reinforce numbers. The Opposition side of BRS-AIMIM combine and BJP has a strength of 54 MLAs in the assembly.

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