Against the backdrop of the agitation for a separate state, the ruling Congress and the major opposition Telugu Desam Party face a tough challenge in the coming bypolls to 12 Assembly seats in Telangana region.
The by-election to the 12 seats, which should be held before mid-August, has been necessitated as the sitting MLAs -10 from TRS and one each from Congress and BJP - quit their posts in support of the demand for a separate Telangana.
The two major parties are in a dilemma over fielding their candidates in the wake of demands from the Telangana Joint Action Committee (JAC) and other pro-Telangana outfits to unanimously elect those who had quit.
However, a three-cornered contest among Congress, TDP and TRS appears inevitable as the ruling party has already announced it will fight the elections though some party leaders like CWC member K Keshava Rao were not in favour of it.
State Congress president D Srinivas met party chief Sonia Gandhi yesterday and announced later that the Congress would fight the elections. "We will definitely contest the elections. The high command has asked me to expedite the preparations," he said. TDP has indicated that it will field its candidates if Congress did so.