Rare opposition unity likely in Telangana to take on TRS

Hyderabad, Sep 17: Barring BJP, all the opposition parties in Telangana appear to be joining hands to take on the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which currently looks invincible on paper.

Main opposition Congress party, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Left parties are coming together to put up a united fight against TRS in the by-elections to Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat.

The bypoll is likely as sitting MP Gutta Sukhender Reddy, who had crossed over to TRS after winning on Congress ticket in the 2014 general election, is expected to be appointed head of the State Level Farmers’ Coordination Committee.

The opposition parties are likely to field TDP’s state unit working president A. Revanth Reddy as their common candidate against TRS nominee.

These parties believe Revanth will have bright chances as Reddys, who constitute majority of voters, will back him. One of the bitter critics of Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, the TDP leader hopes to get support from all. He is considered main opponent to KCR’s policies.

Revanth is also ready to take on the TRS as the common candidate of the opposition parties. “I am ready to contest from any constituency against TRS candidates if bypolls are held for any Lok Sabha or Assembly seat,” he said.

The TDP leader said that he will not shy away from contesting any seat as the common candidate of all opposition parties if his party’s central leadership allows him to do so.

Congress and TDP are bitter rivals but the situation in the state may force them to come together. The Left parties, which have their own support base in the constituency, are ready to throw their weight behind Revanth. They all are ready to bury the hatchet to take on the common enemy.

The Congress party had won Nalgonda in 2014 elections but the situation is forcing it to look for a common opposition candidate outside the party fold.

The main opposition party is plagued by serious infighting. The party is aware of the problems it would face if a candidate belonging to state Congress chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy’s group is named. Uttam may not get the support from Komatireddy brothers.

The infighting came in open recently at a party meeting when Uttam had to face protest from followers of Komatireddy Venkat Reddy for ignoring him.

Revanth is expected to get support from all the Congress groups including the group of leader of opposition in state assembly K. Jana Reddy.

Congress and TDP have a common interest in taking revenge from TRS for poaching on their MPs and MLAs. As many as 4 MPs and 25 MLAs from the two parties defected to TRS since 2014.

Senior Congress leader and leader of opposition in state legislative council, Mohammed Ali Shabbir dared KCR to make all the defected MPs and MLAs resign and seek people’s mandate on TRS ticket.

If the opposition parties field a common candidate in Nalgonda, it will be second test of their unity.

They have joined hands for Singareni Collieries staff elections, scheduled to be held on October 5. Congress, TD and Left parties have put up a joint candidate to defeat the TRS-supported trade union headed by Nizamabad MP K. Kavitha, who is its honorary president.

Singareni coal mines are spread over the four erstwhile districts of Karimnagar, Adilabad, Warangal and Khammam.

The elections are held every four years. The Telangana Boggu Ghani Karmika Sangham, affiliated to the TRS, had tasted its first victory in July 2012, riding high on the separate statehood slogan, defeating the strong CPI-affiliated AITUC and Congress-affiliated INTUC.

The BMS affiliated to the BJP will field its candidate. BJP, which had contested 2014 elections in alliance with TDP, has since distanced from the party, which is its coalition partner both at the Centre and in Andhra Pradesh.

Political observers say BJP would not join hands with opposition parties as it would not like to be seen on the side of its number one enemy – Congress.

BJP leaders have been claiming that the party will come to power in Telangana in 2019. They are projecting the party as the only alternative to TRS and hence they do not want to damage their prospects by coming together with the other opposition parties.

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