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Grand alliance take off delayed

The 'Mahakutami' or grand alliance of four opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh, united on anti-Congress plank, could not take off as scheduled because of seat-sharing trouble. Ashok Das reports.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2009 20:30 IST
Ashok Das

The “Mahakutami” or grand alliance of four opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh, united on anti-Congress plank, could not take off on Wednesday as scheduled because of seat-sharing trouble.

The alliance, to comprise of Telugu Desam, CPI, CPM and Telangana Rastra Samiti(TRS) has two principal objectives. To clear the clutter to offer people a clear anti-Congress alternative and secondly to ensure that the opposition votes were not splintered.

TRS` mercurial boss K Chandrasekhar Rao wanted to launch the grand alliance to coincide with his 27-day long “Apoorba Viswa Santhi Mahayagnam”, which started at TRS headqurters, Telangana Bhavan today.But at the appointed time, the leaders of the three other parties ,TDP`s N Chandrababu Naidu, CPI`s K Narayana and CPM`s BV Raghavulu did not turn up.

The hitch is TRS` ‘unreasonable’ seat demands. TRS, which has one point agenda of securing statehood for Telangana, wants 50 assembly and ten parliament seats from the alliance partners. This out of 119 assembly and 17 Lok sabha constituencies located in Telangana. TRS, which had its best electoral performance in 2004, secured six lok sabha and 26 assembly seats and the things have changed much since then.

TDP, the largest partner in the alliance has offered TRS 7 Lok sabha and 40 assembly seats. The TDP argument is that it has to give three Lok sabha and about 25 assembly seats to the two communist parties.

“If we concede the TRS demand, we will be left with 4 lok sabha and 42 assembly seats. Our cadres are deadly opposed to such a deal,” said a TDP politburo member.

Political circles say that the TRS will gradually come around and the alliance will take off, sooner or later.

They said that TRS boss used the grand alliance threat to make a section of Congressmen hailing from Telangana, including a Union minister see red and plead with party high command to make an announcement on the statehood issue. Once that was conceded, Chandrasekhar Rao was willing to dump the grand alliance and sail with Congress.

The Chief Minister Rajasekhar Reddy put paid to his plans by convincing the high command not to fall into the TRS trap and go it alone in the elections.

Now TRS has no option but to go with the alliance partners.

TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu, who is keen to have TRS in the anti-Congress alliance, today hinted that his party was open to negotiations. He appointed Erabali Dayakar Rao,a senior party MP from Telangana to talk to TRS leadership. Naidu also told party leaders and cadres to brace up for “sacrifices” in order to save the state from corrupt Congress regime.