The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) is shocked after three of its MPs - T Devender Goud, Y Satyanarayana Choudary and Gundu Sudha Rani - abstained from voting on the AIADMK motion against foreign direct investment (FDI) in Rajya Sabha yesterday evening.
TDP has five MPs in the Rajya Sabha of whom two - Nandamuri Harikrishna and CM Ramesh - voted against the government yesterday.
There has been no word officially from the party even 24 hours after the MPs left the TDP in ignominy, even as a section of senior leaders openly demanded action against the errant MPs.
However, TDP leaders in Adilabad have unofficially revealed that party president N Chandrababu Naidu, who is presently on a foot march (padayatra) in the state, is "shocked and severely upset" by the MPs' action.
One of the three MPs who abstained, T Devender Goud claimed that he had informed the party chief about his inability to take part in the voting as he had to attend a health check-up as per a "pre-fixed" appointment.
"Since the BSP announced its support to the government and the SP abstained, I thought my vote would not have any bearing. Hence, I told the party president and went ahead with my medical appointment," Mr Goud said this evening. He also condemned aspersions being cast against him over the issue.
Y Satyanarayana Choudary, an industrialist-turned-MP considered "very close" to Mr Naidu, pleaded innocence and claimed he was not aware of the timing of voting in the Rajya Sabha. "By the time I reached the house, the lobbies were closed and as such, I could not take part in the voting," he told reporters. Mr Choudary left for Adilabad to meet Mr Naidu and give him a personal explanation on the issue.
The third MP who abstained, Sudha Rani, also left for Adilabad on the same mission even as she told reporters in her native Warangal this afternoon that she could not attend parliament yesterday due to personal reasons as she had to rush to Hyderabad to call on a seriously ailing relative on Thursday night.
"I missed a flight to Delhi yesterday and could not go to Parliament. All allegations being made against me are false. There is no other reason for this," she claimed.
However, TDP's senior leaders did not take their claims kindly. "They should be removed from the party and they should also quit their posts. Those who cannot even win (elections) as ward members were made MPs, but they ditched the party and brought ignominy to Mr Naidu," senior TDP MLA Kothakota Dayakar Reddy fumed at the party headquarters NTR Bhavan today.
"They (MPs) have committed an 'unpardonable crime' by abstaining from the voting on FDI which the party strongly opposed," he said.
TDP politburo member Kadiyam Srihari also demanded strong action against the three MPs saying they brought disgrace to the party, while another senior MLA Payyavula Keshav said that lakhs of party workers were "deeply hurt" by the MPs' abstentions.
"They should apologise not only to party workers, but also to people of the state," Mr Keshav said.