Hyderabad:The Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), have formed a Maha Kutami or grand alliance in Telangana to take on the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and its chief, former chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, or KCR, in the forthcoming assembly election.
All the parties had contested the elections on their own in 2014, when the TRS won 63 of the 119 assembly seats. The TJS had not been formed then.
If the grand alliance fails in the forthcoming elections, it might see the end of the political careers of senior Congress and TDP leaders.
“This election is a life-and-death situation for many senior leaders. There are about 40-odd former cabinet ministers whose political careers are on the line," said a senior Congress leader from Hyderabad, requesting anonymity.
This realization may have also pushed the Congress to join hands with its one-time arch rival, the TDP.
Political pundits believe that the TDP might be relegated to the sidelines on Telangana’s political scene if it fails to win a few seats at least. In 2014, the party had won 12 of its total tally of 15 assembly seats from Greater Hyderabad, which consists of the surrounding areas of the city. The party may not win as many seats this time as several state and district-level leaders of the TDP and its cadres have also shifted loyalties in recent times.
“We hope that the alliance can win some seats in the Greater Hyderabad areas, given that TDP still has some influence in those areas, predominantly inhabited by settlers from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh," said the Congress leader, adding that the stakes are high.
TDP leaders did not wish to comment.
The seat-sharing between the four opposition parties has not been announced, but leaders who are part of the talks said that the only consideration will be the candidate’s winning capability.
Political pundits are also not very hopeful about the chances of the TJS, the political wing of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) led by Prof M. Kodandaram, who had spearheaded the statehood agitation along with KCR, but is a bitter critic of KCR’s policies.
Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy said that the TRS is likely to win the assembly elections with an overwhelming majority, as there is no person in the opposition who can be a crowd puller.
“The neutral votes will go to the TRS. KCR dissolved the assembly when he wanted to and he is comfortable. What can stand against him?" asked Reddy.
However, a surprise move such as declaring a person popular across the political spectrum such as Kodandaram as the alliance’s chief ministerial candidate might put some pressure on TRS.
However, KCR’s son K.T. Rama Rao “welcomed" the alliance, and said that it will fail to make any impact, including in the Greater Hyderabad areas.
The TRS and the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen had won 99 and 44 seats, respectively, or 143 of the total 150 seats, in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections in 2016.