With 11 MLAs of the Opposition YSR Congress coming into its fold so far, the ruling Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh has decided to give a push to the 'Operation Akarsh', it launched a couple of months ago. "Invite all like-minded leaders into the party and make them partners in the (state's) development process," TDP supremo and Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu exhorted his party colleagues on Saturday.
Naidu remarks came amid reports that at least half a dozen more MLAs belonging to the YSRC were ready to cross over to the ruling party, unable to stand the "autocratic attitude" of their leader Y S Jaganmohan Reddy. The TDP's intention appears to be depleting the lone Opposition of considerable strength in the Assembly and mar its chance of winning one Rajya Sabha seat in the biennial election due next month.
Speaking to ministers, legislators, and his party colleagues through teleconference this morning, Naidu said no injustice would be done to those who have been serving the party for long even if leaders from other parties join in. "No problems will arise with the entry of leaders from other parties. The number of Assembly seats in the state will increase (from 175 to 225), so nobody needs to worry," he added.
The TDP chief also asked his party leaders to work together with newcomers "without inhibitions" and take part in development and service activities. "Service (to people) should be the guiding spirit. If we serve people well, they will be ready to return us to power even for four or five terms. Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh are examples in this regard," Naidu observed.