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HindustanTimes Sat,30 Aug 2014

Congress' nod to Telangana leaves Andhra government divided

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 02, 2013
First Published: 00:28 IST(2/8/2013) | Last Updated: 08:32 IST(2/8/2013)

By conceding Telangana’s statehood demand, the Congress may have gained a decisive edge over its political rivals in the new state, but the party appears to have lost ground in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

The broad thinking in the Congress is that the party will reap rich dividends in the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Telangana while the YSR Congress could do well in Andhra Pradesh as it has strong pockets of influence in both the regions.

Congress managers are confident that YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy will not join hands with either the BJP or its arch-rival Telugu Desam Party (TDP). “Reddy has no option but to align with us in the state and at the Centre. He cannot join hands with communal forces,” a Congress leader said. Read: 15 legislators from Cong and Seemandhra minister resign

On its part, the YSR Congress has consistently maintained that the party cannot go with the BJP for ideological reasons.

Indications coming from the YSR Congress camp are that Reddy is not averse to doing business with the Congress after the 2014 polls to keep the BJP out of power.

YSR Congress leaders do not rule out a tie-up between the TDP and the BJP, citing N Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to provide outside support to the BJP-led NDA government from 1998 to 2004.

Andhra Pradesh had helped the Congress regain power at the Centre in 2004 and then retain it in 2009. While the party won 29 of the 42 seats in 2004, the tally increased to 33 in 2009. The Congress also won the state elections in 2004 and 2009.

While Telangana will account for 17 MPs and 119 legislators, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema have 25 parliamentary seats and 175 assembly constituencies.

Though the Congress has decided to initiate the process of creating Telangana, the party is keen to include two Rayalaseema districts — Kurnool and Ananthapur — in the new state. Read: No taker for new Andhra?

The move will not only divide the number of Lok Sabha constituencies equally (21 each) but also check the YSR Congress and the TDP in Rayalaseema.


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