In a jolt to the four and half year-old V Narayanasamy-led Congress government here, senior party legislator Malladi Krishna Rao on Monday resigned from the post of MLA. A communication purportedly sent by Rao to the media said that he conveyed his resignation in his letter head to Speaker V P Sivakolundhu from his home town of Yanam. He stated that he tendered "his resignation of my seat in the House with effect from February 15." However, when contacted a spokesman of the Assembly said the office of Speaker had not received any letter from Rao today.
Rao had quit the post of Health Minister some weeks ago. But the Chief Minister denied such reports at press conferences that Rao had quit the post of Minister. Rao was not available for confirmation over phone when PTI attempted to contact him. An official source in the Assembly said that the Speaker was "out of station."
Malladi Krishna Rao is the third Congress legislator to quit the post of MLA after the former PWD Minister A Namassivayam and E.Theeppainjan on January 25. N Dhanavelu a Congress member was disqualified in July last year for alleged anti-party activities. If the Speaker accepts his resignation, the strength of the Congress in the 30-member House will come down to 11. The Congress had won 15 assembly seats in the 2016 Assembly polls including the Speaker.
The Congress hinges on the support of the three member DMK and an Independent from Mahe N.Ramachandran. On the opposition side, the AINRC has seven members while AIADMK has four and there are three nominated members belonging to the Bharatiya Janata party. Rao's resignation has come as a bolt from the blue to the Congress when the party is going ahead with arrangements for the visit of party leader Rahul Gandhi on February 17.
Rao has been holding the lone Yanam constituency without break since 1996 although at one stage in 2000 he quit the MLA post to facilitate the then Congress leader the late P Shanmugham who became Chief Minister without being an MLA to contest to regularise himself as head of the then government. Shanmugham won the poll in the byelection held in 2000 within six months of becoming the head of the government without being a member of the House.
Rao was felicitated by the government at a function on January 16 in Yanam for being "a legislator for a long period" and among those who felicitated him included the Chief Minister and his cabinet colleagues.
Rao also accompanied the Chief Minister last week to New Delhi to meet President Ram Nath Kovind to urge him to replace Lt governor Kiran Bedi for her alleged interference in administration in the union territory.