Hyderabad: The Telangana statehood issue is taking a heavy toll on principal opposition Telugu Desam Party in Andhra Pradesh.
The party has so far lost seven MLAs in Telangana in the last one-and-a-half years, a direct impact of the ongoing agitation for a separate state.
The main reason for the legislators' exit from Telugu Desam, which hitherto used to be a potent force in Telangana, was the growing hostility towards the party in the region because of its "ambivalent" stand on the statehood demand.
Besides, TDP legislators were facing the heat from the Telangana protagonists who, at times, went to the extent of attacking and ransacking the MLAs' residences besides indulging in other protests.
The separatist Telangana Rashtra Samiti was in the forefront of the attacks on TDP MLAs in many a case. In 2009, the TDP won 39 MLA seats in Telangana region but now the number has fallen to 32.
Political analysts point out that the TDP has lost ground completely in Telangana in the last two years because of its flip-flops on the separate state demand. The by-elections to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana last year were a clear reflection to TDP’s lost eminence in the region, they aver.
Hence, to safeguard their political future, the MLAs were leaving TDP in quick succession, the analysts add.     

Chennamaneni Ramesh, MLA from Vemulawada in Karimnagar district, was the first to quit TDP in February last year protesting its indecisiveness on the statehood issue. He joined the TRS and got re-elected to the Assembly in the by-elections in August last. Pocharam Srinivasa Reddy, MLA from Banswada in Nizamabad district, was the next to follow and leave the TDP in March this year. He also resigned from the state Assembly demanding creation of Telangana state.
Now in the TRS, Pocharam is seeking re-election from his home constituency in the by-election slated for October 13.     

The TDP had to suspend senior legislator and former minister Nagam Janardhana Reddy of Nagarkurnool in Mahbubnagar district after he publicly lashed out at the party chief N Chandrababu Naidu on the statehood issue.
However, Nagam did not go alone and he took three more TDP MLAs out of the party along with him. Two MLAs S Venugopalachari and Jogu Ramanna of Adilabad district and another K Harishwar Reddy of Ranga Reddy joined hands with Nagam and floated a new outfit Telangana Nagara Samiti to fight for Telangana state.
Today, Gampa Govardhan, MLA from Kamareddy in Nizamabad district, severed ties with the TDP and joined the TRS.     

Now, there is growing anxiety in the TDP ranks over the possibility of some more legislators leaving the party in view of the growing hostilities.
"TRS President is intimidating our MLAs to quit the party or face consequences. Thats why some MLAs are joining the TRS," Telugu Desam Telangana Forum convenor Errabilli Dayakar Rao remarked.
The MLAs' exodus issue came up for discussion between Chandrababu Naidu and leaders of TTDF the other day but the party president reportedly remarked that he had always been clear on the statehood issue.
"Nothing is in our hands...it is for the Government of India to take a decision on the Telangana issue," was reportedly the former Chief Minister's refrain. But, it’s the TDP that is currently suffering the damage.