Once a protege of KCR, retired professor wants to try his luck in MLC polls
After failing to make his presence felt in the last assembly elections in Telangana in December 2018, former Osmania University (OU) professor and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) president M Kodandaram is planning to try his luck in the ensuing elections to state legislative council under graduates’ quota.
The elections to the two MLC seats under graduates’ constituencies – one comprising Nalgonda, Warangal and Khammam districts and another encompassing Rangareddy, Mahbubnagar and Hyderabad districts - are scheduled to be held in February and March.
The process for the conduct of elections for the two seats began on Thursday with the enrolment of graduate voters. Though there is still four months’ time for the elections, all the political parties including the Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the Bharatiya Janata Party have already commenced the exercise for the selection of candidates, inviting applications from the aspirants.
Kodandaram, once a protégé of Telangana Rashtra Samithi president and chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, has announced his intentions to contest the MLC elections from Nalgonda-Warangal-Khammam graduates’ constituency. For the last few weeks, he has been extensively touring these districts to mobilise support for his candidature.
“There is a need to have a strong opposition voice in the legislative council that can represent the people’s voice. At present, there is hardly any representation of the opposition in the council. That is why there have been requests from all sections of people that I should contest the elections to represent the voice of the oppressed,” Kodandaram told Hindustan Times.
Kodandaram was a powerful leader with a huge mass appeal before 2014 when he spearheaded the movement for separate Telangana state as the chairman of Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) comprising all political parties, workers, employees and students.
However, he refused to join hands with the TRS in post-Telangana scenario but wanted to continue the TJAC as a watch-dog of the people. This resulted in differences between KCR and Kodandaram and the latter turned a bitter critic of the TRS government.
Before 2018 elections, he floated a separate political party Telangana Jana Samithi as an alternative voice of the people of Telangana. “There was an anti-establishment atmosphere in 2018 too but we could not succeed in capitalising on it for various reasons,” Kodandaram said.
The TJS leader is hoping to get support from other opposition parties, particularly the Congress with which his party had joined hands to form grand alliance along with the Telugu Desam Party and the CPI. However, the Congress party is planning to go alone and has received applications from aspirants for the two MLC seats.