Hyderabad: Three years after Telangana was formed, opposition parties are trying their best to challenge the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the principal political pole of the state, and bring about a change in the political landscape.

While the TRS has become stronger in the state after the 2014 assembly elections because of large scale defections from opposition parties and after winning two municipal polls with huge margins last year, opposition parties want to upset the ruling party in the 2019 assembly elections at any cost.

For instance, in the union elections to Singareni Colleries Co. Ltd last week, the Congress- and Telugu Desam Party’s (TDP)-affiliated trade unions supported the Communist Party of India (CPI)-led All India Trade Union Congress. The united front, however, failed, as TRS’s trade union wing won nine of 11 divisions.

The opposition has put up a united front on a host of issues, especially on government order 39 (which proposes to form farmer coordination committees through nominated posts), alleging that the TRS will use it to appoint its members to the posts.

One of the earliest indications that opposition parties are set to form alliances has come from the CPI leadership in Telangana. Its national secretary K. Narayana earlier told Mint that the party had taken a decision to tie up with “secular democratic parties" amid rumours in political circles that the CPI and the Congress are planning an alliance.

While Congress leaders from the state maintained that no decision about forming an alliance has been taken so far, they did not rule out the possibility of tying up with the CPI. “To go with which party will be decided only before the elections," said a senior Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee member from Hyderabad, who was unwilling to be named.

Another reason for the opposition to come together is mass defections to the TRS post the 2014 elections. The TRS, which won 63 seats out of 119 then, now has 90 MLAs, thanks to defections from TDP, Congress and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which lost its only three MLAs and one MP to the ruling party.

Gattu Srikanth Reddy, in-charge of YSRCP in Telangana, said, “We will definitely form an alliance for the 2019 general elections. It will be decided around the time of elections." Ravula Chandra Shekar Reddy, TDP member from Telangana, however said his party’s leadership has taken no such decision as of now.

“As of now, we have an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh). This is not the time to talk of 2019 and we will work to strengthen our cadre here," Chandra Shekar said. While the TDP is still with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), leaders from its Telangana unit have clearly said that the party will contest alone in the 2019 general elections.

Leo Augustine, a former general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, said the state will again see alliance-based politics, like in the joint state of Andhra Pradesh in 2009 and 2004. In 2014 elections, except for the TDP and BJP, all other parties contested alone. He asserted that given TRS’s current strength, the opposition parties will be forced to tie up in the next elections.

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