Hyderabad: Even as seat sharing is yet to be fully finalized, the Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) released their first list of candidates for the Telangana assembly elections late on Monday night. The names were announced in spite of the Congress-led alliance not fully resolving seat-sharing issues with two other partners, the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
The announcement of 65 names by the Congress also led to some internal protests, with supporters of some aspirants who were denied tickets protesting at the party’s head office at Nampally in Hyderabad (and in some districts as well). The situation led to round-the-clock police deployment outside the Congress office building.
The Congress’s list of candidates was on expected lines, with many of the party’s senior leaders who contested the assembly elections in 2014 being fielded. These include former state cabinet ministers like M. Mukesh Goud, Sabita Indra Reddy and others. Vanteru Pratap Reddy, who switched from the TDP to the Congress, will contest against caretaker chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi supremo K. Chandrasekhar Rao from the Gajwel constituency,
Rao had won the seat with 86,372 votes in 2014, while Pratap Reddy came second with 67,154 votes and the (then) Congress candidate T. Narsa Reddy came third with 33,998 votes. The Congress-TDP combine is expected to give the TRS chief a tough fight. The alliance also released names for the Nampally, Goshamahal, Charminar and Chandrayangutta seats in Hyderabad, which are strongholds of the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, headed by Asaduddin Owaisi.
Within the TDP, it gave tickets to nine candidates. A prominent name in the list includes that of former state cabinet minister (in joint AP) Nama Nageswara Rao who was nominated for the Khammam seat. A senior Congress leader who did not want to be named said seat-sharing talks with the TJS, which has been asking for more seats than the allotted eight, are expected to completed by Wednesday. “Wherever there is no dispute the names will be announced," he added.
Last week, it was announced that out of the total 119 seats, the Congress would contest 93, TDP 14, TJS 8 and CPI 3 (one ticket could be given to a smaller party). However, not happy with the number, the TJS is trying to get two more seats and is also discussing which constituencies it will contest from. The TRS, on the other hand, gave tickets to 107 candidates, many of whom were sitting MLAs in the previous assembly, which was dissolved by Rao on September 6.
Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said the Congress’ first list of candidates was quite strong. “My initial assessment is that they have given tickets to candidates who have a connection with the party high command in Delhi. It is in favour of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, as against the influence of other leaders," he added.
Elections in Telangana will be held on 7 December.