A former Congress MLA, one of the 12 who defected to the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), on Wednesday launched into a tirade against his former outfit, saying, "We are not sheep and buffaloes to be purchased."
MLA Gandra Venkata Ramana Reddy, flanked by other former Congress leaders, said their step was in accordance with the Constitution.
The Congress has alleged the MLAs have been lured into joining the TRS and has approached the High Court challenging their "merger" with the TRS Legislature Party.
"We, 12 MLAs, met Speaker on 6th of this month. It is clearly said in X Schedule of Constitution that if 2/3rd of MLAs wish, they can merge. Accordingly, we met the Speaker on 6th (of June) and gave a letter," he told reporters.
"We requested the Chief Minister to admit us into TRS Legislature Party. As per that letter, Speaker allowed us to be admitted, for merger," he said.
They did not join TRS till June 6, he said.
He dismissed Congress leaders' allegations that they have been lured into joining the TRS.
"Congress party leaders' comments are surprising. (They say MLAs) joined after being offered inducements, purchased or out of fear. We are not kids to be made to fear. We are not the ones to fall for inducements. We are not sheep or buffaloes to be purchased," Reddy said.
The decision was taken in the interest of the development of their constituencies and people's welfare, he said.
The allegations of Congress are baseless, he added.
Reddy said they would reply to the notices issued by the courts on the matter.
The 12 MLAs would not hesitate to file a defamation suit for allegedly indulging in their character assassination, he said.
The Congress should introspect why it is failing in elections that took place since TRS came to power in 2014, whether it is elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), Assembly polls in December last year, Lok Sabha polls or the recent rural local body polls, he claimed.
He queried why several other Congress leaders quit the party and joined the BJP or other parties.
The reasons for defeat cannot be blamed on EVMs as ballot papers were used in local body polls, he said.
Referring to criticism made by BJP leaders against them, Reddy said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the recent Lok Sabha campaign in West Bengal, said 40 TMC MLAs are in touch with BJP.
(With inputs from PTI)