Hyderabad: The Congress-led grand alliance in Telangana is still to finalize candidates for the 7 December assembly elections, though there just a week left to file nominations. The delay is a result of differences over seat-sharing among the members of the alliance, with key constituent Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) seeking two more seats.

The alliance of the Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), TJS and the Communist Party of India (CPI) had last week decided to contest 93, 14, 8 and 3, respectively, out of the total of 119 assembly seats, with one seat to be given to a smaller party. However, the M. Kodandaram-led TJS has since asked for two more seats and is yet to choose the constituencies it wishes to contest, a Congress leader said on condition of anonymity.

Kodandaram said his party is asking for constituencies where the Congress is weak and where the TJS has been building strength. “Wherever there is no issue, the candidates will file their nominations. We will sort out the issues in the next two or three days," he told Mint on Monday.

The alliance partners are yet to decide on specific candidatures, which is why none of the four parties has announced the names of the candidates so far.

Meanwhile, caretaker chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrashekar Rao has distributed 107 out of 119 party tickets to TRS contestants on 11 November. He is expected to announce the names of the remaining candidates before 22 November, the last day for withdrawal of candidatures.

The CPI has also been asking for more than three seats, but it has been promised seats in the legislative council instead by the Congress, according to a leader from the alliance who did not want to be named.

The TRS, which is on “friendly" terms with the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), will face the grand alliance.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which had contested the last assembly election in 2014 jointly with the TDP, will contest alone this time. The Communist Part of India (Marxist), or CPM, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and about two dozen smaller parties have joined hands to form the Bahujan Left Front.

Elections in Telangana were advanced after Rao recommended dissolving the assembly on 6 September, citing political fragility.

In 2014, the TRS had won 63 assembly seats, the Congress 21, TDP 15, AIMIM 7, and the BJP 5. However, the TRS’s strength rose to nearly 90 later because of many defections from various opposition parties.

“The problem is basically that the CPI is a national party and doesn’t want to be seen as a small player, unlike the CPM which is leading the Bahujan Left Front. The TJS also doesn’t want to be seen as a smaller player than the TDP, because Prof. Kodandaram and other TJS leaders had fought for Telangana’s statehood agitation. That is why they might be pressing for more," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

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