Telangana bypolls: Tough challenge for Congress, TDP

Against the backdrop of the agitation for a separate state, the ruling Congress and the major opposition Telugu Desam Party face a tough challenge in the coming bypolls to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana region.

Last Updated: Jun 16, 2010, 13:04 PM IST

Hyderabad: Against the backdrop of the agitation for a separate state, the ruling Congress and the major opposition Telugu Desam Party face a tough challenge in the coming bypolls to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana region.

The byelection to the 12 seats, which should be held before mid-August, has been necessitated as the sitting MLAs - 10 from TRS and one each from Congress and BJP - quit their posts in support of the demand for a separate Telangana.

The two major parties are in a dilemma over fielding their candidates in the wake of demands from the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other pro-Telangana outfits to unanimously elect those who had quit.

However, a three-cornered contest among Congress, TDP and TRS appears inevitable as the ruling party has already announced it will fight the elections though some party
leaders like CWC member K Keshava Rao were not in favour of it.

State Congress president D Srinivas met party chief Sonia Gandhi yesterday and announced later that the Congress would fight the elections.

"We will definitely contest the elections. The high command has asked me to expedite the preparations," he said.

TDP has indicated that it will field its candidates if Congress did so.

TRS expects a smooth sailing as the bypolls are being held in the aftermath of the fast-unto-death undertaken by its president K Chandrasekhar Rao and subsequent agitation for
separate Telangana.
The sub-regional party has hinged its hopes on the "Telangana sentiment" for ensuring victory and the test for the party is to see that all its 10 candidates who had quit
are re-elected comfortably.

The members of the Telangana JAC and students of Osmania University have been actively campaigning for the victory of those who had resigned from the seats.

JAC Convener M Kodandaram has written an open letter to the Congress and TDP not to field their nominees and urged the people to vote for candidates who had resigned for the sake of Telangana.

Congress and TDP leaders, however, allege that the JAC is an extension of the TRS. The JAC now comprises only the TRS and some pro-Telangana outfits. While Congress had walked out o f the JAC, the TDP was expelled from the committee.
TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao has alleged that the Congress and TDP are not sincere in their commitment to the Telangana cause.

PTI