Singareni result a blow to Telangana opposition

Hyderabad, Oct 8 :The results of Singareni trade union polls has dealt a blow to Telangana’s opposition parties which had formed an alliance to take on the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which looks unbeatable, at least now.

Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS), a trade union affiliated to TRS swept the polls, winning 9 out of 11 divisions. It thus retained its hold in the mines.

TBGKS polled 23,848 votes while All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) of Communist Party of India (CPI), which was backed by the Congress party and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) polled 19,631 votes. AITUC won two divisions.

The result showed that TRS remained invincible and came as a huge boost to the party in the run-up to 2019 elections.

TBGKS’ victory is remarkable considering the fact that barring BJP, all opposition parties had joined hands to contest the polls.

About 95 percent of total 52,534 coal workers cast their votes to elect recognised union in the mines spread over 12 assembly constituencies.

The stakes were high for both the major opponents and the polls were seen as a prelude to 2019 elections. Both sides treated the election as a battle for prestige and the bitter campaign saw leaders trading charges.

The result has come as a jolt to the efforts of the opposition parties to cobble up a grand alliance against the TRS. Their leaders had campaigned aggressively, targeting the ‘misrule’ of TRS during last three years.

It was no wonder that TRS too went all out to win the poll battle. Ministers and top leaders participated in the campaigning. The stakes were high for the ruling party also because Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter and Nizamabad MP K. Kavitha is the honorary president of TBGKS.

A few days before polls, KCR himself announced a slew of promises for the welfare of coal workers.

Hours after the announcements of results, KCR addressed a press conference terming their victory as historic.

He said TBGKS polled 45 percent votes, the highest in Singareni’s history. He said no union in the past won nine divisions.

He lashed out at the opposition parties for spreading ‘falsehood’ about the government and and launched the bitter attack on Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) chairman M. Kodandaram who had campaigned for AITUC.

The TRS chief went on to describe Kodandaram as a venomous snake who always opposed TRS. “He thinks too much of himself. Has he ever won village-level election,” asked KCR in a jibe at Kodandaram, who had participated in Telangana movement with him.

KCR alleged that Kodandaram held secret talks with Congress president Sonia Gandhi to damage the interests of Telangana. The TRS chief dared him to float a party to take on TRS.

The remarks showed KCR was buoyed up by the poll results. He did not spare anybody. He said the BJP-based union got 246 out of 55,000 votes and the party leaders claim they will be alternative to TRS. “Is there a bigger joke than this,” he asked.

KCR claimed that it was he who set up JAC and the outfit’s became ineffective after its goal for Telangana state was achieved.

While celebrations broke out in TRS camp, the opposition parties claimed that their share of votes has gone up, though they won only two divisions. The victory margin of TBGKS has reduced to 4,217 votes from 6,587 in 2012 elections. The vote share of AITUC has gone up to 37.37 from 27.76 in the previous elections. This could become possible with the support of Congress and TDP.

Reacting to the victory of TBGKS, CPI alleged that TRS used unethical means. Its leaders claimed that the ruling party distributed cash, liquor and gifts among workers. The Congress party alleged that TBGKS leaders threatened the employees.

Political observers say while the result is a blow to the opposition parties, the statistics indicate that if they join hands they could pose a serious challenge to TRS in 2019 elections

In fact, Singareni polls were seen as a harbinger of larger opposition unity in the next elections.

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