Another senior leader and former board member of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) trust, Manne Jeevan Reddy, also joined Congress.
Netha and Reddy were welcomed into the party by All India Congress Committee general secretary K C Venugopal, in the presence of several Telangana Congress leaders, including chief minister A Revanth Reddy and deputy chief minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka.
“I was impressed by the six guarantees being implemented by the Revanth Reddy government. Hence, I decided to quit BRS to join Congress,” Netha said.
However, a BRS leader familiar with the development said, Netha defected to the Congress following reports that the party is likely to drop seven of the nine sitting BRS MPs in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There are 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.
According to this leader, BRS president and former chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao may retain only two sitting MPs – G Ranjith Reddy from Chevella and Nama Nageshwar Rao from Khammam. Of the remaining seven, Medak MP Kotha Prabhakar Reddy already resigned from the Lok Sabha membership on being elected to the state assembly from Dubbak. The other six – Venkatesh Netha, Pasunoori Dayakar from Warangal, Manne Srinivas Reddy from Mahabubnagar, B B Patil from Zaheerabad, Pothuganti Ramulu from Nagarkurnool and Malothu Kavitha from Mahabubabad – may not get the party tickets again.
While Netha defected to the Congress, at least three others are likely to follow suit, the BRS leader said.
During the review meetings in Lok Sabha constituencies held between January 3 and 22, most leaders suggested the party leadership not to repeat several candidates in the Lok Sabha elections, as they are facing severe anti-incumbency. Hence, there should be a change in certain candidates, who stand no chance of winning, the party leader added.
Netha, who is a first-time MP, is expecting the Congress ticket for the Peddapalli Lok Sabha seat again.
Last week, another senior BRS lawmaker from the Ghanpur Station assembly constituency and former deputy chief minister Thatikonda Rajaiah resigned from the party. According to the party leader, he is also likely to join Congress. He is learnt to be seeking the Congress ticket from Warangal Lok Sabha seat.