The proposed ‘Mahakutami’ (grand alliance) that the Telangana unit of Telugu Desam Party (T-TDP) is trying to stitch with the Congress, CPI, CPM and Telangana Jana Samiti seems to have run into trouble over seat-sharing issues.
Sources in the Congress and T-TDP said ticket aspirants have warned of rebellion if they are denied a chance to accommodate other party candidates. Many have cited the TDP ‘Mahakutami’ of 2009, which flopped following squabbles over seat sharing.
The CPM — which had formed the Left Bahujan Front on January 25 comprising 31 social organisations — told T-TDP on Monday that it had decided not to join the alliance. “Left Bahujan Front was formed as an alternative to the Congress and BJP. We won’t join the alliance in which Congress is a partner,” CPM state secretary Thammineni Veerabhadram told The Indian Express.
The T-TDP, with the tacit blessing of TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, is ready to tie up with the Congress. The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister has, however, refrained from saying anything about elections in Telangana, the party’s strategy or proposed tie-up with the Congress in Telangana, fearing a fallout in Andhra Pradesh.
T-TDP president L Ramana told The Indian Express that ‘Mahakutami 2018’ would be ready in two-three days. “We are getting positive signs from the Congress, and are hopeful of working together. CPI has already agreed and Telangana Jana Samiti of Prof B Kondandaram is willing to join.”
Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president and former MP Ponnam Prabhakar said, “It (joining the alliance) depends on how we work out the seat-sharing arrangement. If TDP seeks more seats than we can afford to give them, there won’t be any alliance.”
Ahead of 2009 elections in undivided Andhra Pradesh, TDP president Naidu formed a similar alliance with TRS, CPI and CPM. The ‘Mahakutami’ of 2009 was formed to take on the Congress led by Y S Rajashekar Reddy, but failed miserably — TDP won 94 seats, TRS only 10, CPI 4 and CPM 1. “The alliance flopped not only because of the huge popularity of YSR but also due to infighting and seat-sharing squabbles,” a former TDP leader said.
While in 2009, the TDP made TRS a partner, this time it could be the Congress. However, the Telangana Congress is facing infighting between factions, and many leaders are wary of joining hands with T-TDP.
When asked if a national party like the Congress would agree to the TDP’s proposals on seat-sharing and manifesto, Ramana said they would sort out differences before forging the alliance. “There will be some problems, but we have to unite to take on TRS. I think all like-minded parties will set aside their differences and join this alliance,” he said.
When asked about the 2009 alliance that flopped, Ramana said circumstances change from one election to another, and the alliance of 2018 would succeed. “TDP has become stronger in Mahbubnagar, Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda, Khammam, and Hyderabad. We will get support in north Telangana also,’’ Ramana said.
CPI (Telangana) Secretary Chada Venkatreddy said the party joined hands with TDP to strengthen the fight against the ruling TRS.
The Left Bahujan Front led by CPM with balladeers Gaddar and Arunodaya Vimala; activist and writer Kancha Illiah, actor Pawan Kalyan’s Jana Sena Party and more than 20 social and political organisations plans to contest all 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats. CPM will have seat-sharing arrangement with Pawan Kalyan’s JSP, which also plans to contest in Telangana.
Telangana CEO meets CEC in Delhi
Hyderabad: Telangana CEO Dr Rajat Kumar on Monday met the Chief Election Commissioner and other officials in Delhi. He discussed and briefed the officials about preparedness in the state to conduct elections, status of electoral rolls, and law and order situation. He also submitted a report on polling arrangements, polling stations, voters lists, EVMs and VVPAT machines. “No decision was taken today. EC team will visit Hyderabad tomorrow,” Kumar said. A CEC team headed by Deputy Commissioner Umesh Sinha will arrive in Hyderabad Tuesday for a two-day visit to assess the situation. —ENS