Hyderabad: In spite of being part of the grand alliance in Telangana, the Congress and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) are all set to face each other in “friendly fights" in about half-a-dozen constituencies in the upcoming 7 December elections. Both parties have filed more nominations than the originally decided numbers out of the total 119.
The Congress, which officially released 94 names earlier, has fielded 100 candidates, while the TJS has filed 14 nominations instead of the 8 seats it was allotted originally. Senior leaders from both parties, while agreeing that this would have a negative impact on the alliance’s chances, hoped that a few candidates from both sides would withdraw their nominations, the last date for which is 22 November..
“The TJS is definitely part of the alliance and though its vote share won’t be much, it can act as the deciding factor in some seats. Its president M. Kodandaram will also add face value for the grand alliance. About the nominations they have filed, we leave it to them to decide," said Gudur Narayana Reddy, treasurer, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. He was confident that the alliance would win between 72 and 80 seats of the total 119.
The Congress, TJS, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) have stitched up an alliance to take on the caretaker chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS). The TDP and CPI have settled for 13 (the Desam was earlier given 14, but one has been retained by the Congress) and 3 seats.
“Earlier, there was no clarity on the number of seats that were allotted. We are entering into negotiations and we might withdraw nominations after discussion. You will not know which ones till the last date for withdrawal," Kodandaram told Mint. He stated that the TJS would bring legitimacy to the alliance, given that many of its leaders had an activist background. “We have a lot of goodwill," added the TJS president.
Compounding the situation are rebel candidates from the Congress, who were called for day long meetings by senior party leaders. A senior Congress leader who did not want to be named said about 70% of the rebels, including children of prominent candidates, had been assured of important posts if the alliance came to power. He added that the Congress might also withdraw one nomination out the 100 it had filed.
“The Congress doesn’t need the TJS as such, but only the face of Kodandaram. KCR now has an opportunity to attack the former, saying that the grand old party does not stick to its word and he might even say that in his rallies. And the TRS will have a weapon if at all Kodandaram actually leaves the alliance," said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed)