New Delhi: The Congress has finalised a seat-sharing arrangement with the TDP and Left parties in Telangana to challenge the K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS, party insiders said. Of the 119 seats in the state assembly, the Congress is likely to contest on 90, leaving 29 for its alliance partners.
After the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, the TDP has considerably weakened in Telangana but still has pockets on influence. Left parties, especially the CPI, also have areas of influence scattered over the state.
The TDP and Congress have been traditional adversaries in the bi-polar polity of undivided Andhra Pradesh. However, the grand old party now has little presence in the state, with YRS Congress led by Jagan Mohan Reddy emerging as the main challenger to Chandra Babu Naidu.
The term of the current assembly was to expire in May next year, but chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao recommended its dissolution earlier this month to seek a fresh mandate.
The Congress, TDP and Left parties met Telangana governor ESL Narsimhan on Tuesday and urged him to take steps to ensure that President's Rule was imposed in the state in the run-up to assembly polls. They also sought action against the caretaker chief minister, alleging that he was abusing his power and acting in an illegal and unconstitutional manner after the dissolution of the state assembly. The three parties, which have reached an understanding on forming an electoral alliance to fight the upcoming assembly elections together, said KCR’s “illegal” conduct was helping his own party ahead of the polls.
"Even if KCR is caretaker CM, free and fair polls will not be possible in Telangana. We demanded that elections be conducted after imposing President's Rule," Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
TDP's Telangana unit president L Ramana, CPI state secretary Chada Venkata Reddy, Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) leader M Kodandaram were among the leaders who met the governor. They also submitted a memorandum to him, highlighting three counts of “interference” by the caretaker government, starting with the appointment of 12 advisers who are not needed anymore. The administration is still paying them salaries and allowances, they said.
“In the same manner, members of the planning board continue to enjoy the powers of the government. Moreover, some MLAs are given cabinet rank and are chairmen of different corporations. Some of these chairmen are also contesting on a TRS ticket. This is illegal and unconstitutional,” the letter read. They added that these “undemocratic actions” amount to interference into institutions and financial aspects of the governance, which can influence voters.
The Election Commission is currently gauging the earliest date at which elections can be held and has asked the state’s chief election officer to assess poll preparedness.