Hyderabad: Seat-sharing talks for Telangana’s Congress-led grand alliance are underway and a final arrangement will be announced in the next few days, said M. Kodandaram, president of the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS). The TJS is part of the political alliance formed to take on the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by caretaker chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao.

There has been a buzz in political circles ever since the alliance was announced between the Congress, TJS, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI), that a seat-sharing deal is being delayed as the TJS is asking for more seats.

“We can plan an important role in about 40 out of 119 seats. But as far as contesting is concerned, TJS is ready to negotiate," Kodandaram said in an interview.

The TJS president added that though there have been informal meetings, there was no finality yet on seat-sharing and campaigning. “It will be decided very soon. The Congress has been listening to what we have to say as well. We had a lot of pressure from various mass organizations to be part of the alliance so that we can defeat the autocratic rule of KCR (as Rao is known)," Kodandaram said.

A senior Telangana Congress Pradesh Committee (TPCC) leader, who did not want to be named, said that his party is willing to part with 20-25 seats to all the alliance partners. “The TDP has agreed to the roughly 12 or so seats we offered, but the TJS and CPI are asking for more of the remaining numbers. Discussions with alliance partners should fructify soon," he said.

Kodandaram was also confident that a seat-sharing agreement will be finalised soon. “We were active in the Telangana statehood agitation and hence have a lot of goodwill. This gives us leverage in the alliance," he claimed.

The TJS was formed a few months ago as the political wing of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), which spearheaded the separate statehood goal, which was led by both Kodandaram and K. Chandrashekar Rao.

However, once Telangana was bifurcated from Andhra Pradesh on 2 June 2014, the TJAC, which was then headed by Kodandaram, began criticizing the chief minister and the state government over various issues.

Elections in Telangana, which were earlier slated to be held in April-May 2019, have been advanced as Rao called for polls on 6 September citing “political fragility". The polls will be held on 7 December, and the results will be declared with four other states where elections will be held around the same time.