Home >politics >policy >Targeting reserved seats in 2019, Congress begins groundwork in Telangana

Hyderabad: In a bid to win the maximum number of reserved assembly seats in the 2019 general elections, the Congress has begun restructuring its cadre in all the 31 Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) constituencies in Telangana.

The party aims to mobilize over 100,000 workers for the task by setting-up constituency level committees on both village and ward (city) levels across the state.

“This is something that the SC and ST cells under the All India Congress Committee (AICC) decided to do, starting with the recent Punjab elections. We decided to start work two years in advance of the elections. The Congress used to win most of the reserved seats in the past, but that gradually changed over the years," said N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, president, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC).

In the 2014 general elections, the Congress won 21 seats out of the total 119, though eight MLAs later defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi. Out of the 31 reserved seats, it only won six, pointed out Reddy. He added that the exercise to strengthen the party in those constituencies has begun, and that the organizational restructure will finish in about two months.

As per the plan, each constituency, under which there are six mandals on an average, will have about 15 leaders designated to its coordination committee.

“Then each mandal will also have another 15 or so leaders. Each of the mandal level committee members will mobilize 10 workers each. Through this alone we will gather about 16,000-odd workers," explained a Congress leader from Hyderabad, who did not want to be identified.

He added that if the Congress wins at least 20-odd seats, its chances of coming to power will be much higher. In Telangana, a tally of 60 is required for any party to form a government. “We will definitely win more non-reserved seats," the city-based leader added.

TPCC spokesperson M. Krishank also said that workers will also be mobilized on the 6,000 plus voting booths in the 31 reserved seats. One booth level in-charge and five workers will be placed at each polling station, he added. “There itself we will organize about 30,000 workers. We are also mobilizing village-level committees, through which the total number of workers will go above 1 lakh," he added.

Once the organizational structure is in place, all the constituency workers will start door-to-door campaigns “This will start in about six months and will peak during the elections in 2019, when we highlight the failure of the TRS government," he added.

Professor Padma Shaw, a former faculty member, communication and journalism department, Osmania University, said that the Congress had a huge support base in the past.

“There is a lot of discontent among marginalized groups against the ruling party. But I am not sure if the party’s current leadership (will get their support)," she said.

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