In a huge setback for former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, four TDP lawmakers joined the Bharatiya Janata Party on Thursday.

TDP Rajya Sabha MPs YS Chowdary, TG Venkatesh, and CM Ramesh joined the party in the presence of BJP Working President JP Nadda. MP GM Rao will formally join later as he is unwell.

Earlier, the leaders had submitted their resignations to Vice-President and Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu.

The leaders also passed a resolution to merge the Legislature Party of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with the BJP.

“Inspired and encouraged by the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the development policies being pursued by him in the overall interest of the nation, we have decided to merge with the BJP with immediate effect,” the resolution stated.

Following the development, TDP President Chandrababu Naidu said, “We fought with BJP only for Special Category Status and state interests. We sacrificed Central ministers for Special Status; condemn attempts of BJP to weaken TDP. Crisis is not new to the party. Leaders and cadre have nothing to be nervous about”.

Earlier in the day, the four TDP leaders had called on Amit Shah and expressed their willingness to join the BJP.

The development has plunged the TDP into a crisis as only two parliamentarians remain after the MPs’ exit.

Chowdary, a former central Minister, and Ramesh are considered close to Chandrababu Naidu. The two MPs had faced series of searches by Income Tax, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) in recent months.

In another development, some TDP leaders including former legislators held a secret meeting at Kakinada amid reports that they are planning to join either BJP or YSR Congress Party (YSRCP).

Under the leadership of former MLA Thota Trimurthulu, TDP leaders belonging to Kapu community held a meeting a hotel at Kakinada on Thursday to discuss their strategy.

The developments came amid claims by BJP leaders that several leaders from various parties in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana were keen to join their party.

The Telugu Desam Party lost power to YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh in the recent elections. The party could secure only 23 seats of the 151 Assembly seats. It won only three of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state.