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Rahul Gandhi likely to take on TRS over support to NDA

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is expected to attack the TRS government over its “failures”. He will also take on Asaduddin Owaisi in the AIMIM citadel.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2018 08:02 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Rahul Gandhi,TRS,NDA
Congress president Rahul Gandhi addresses a crowd at Sansad Marg, in New Delhi.(Anushree Fadnavis/HT File Photo)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi is likely to take on the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi during his two-day visit to Hyderabad from August 13.

Gandhi’s visit will follow TRS’s vote for National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate in the Rajya Sabha deputy chairperson’s election. The Congress said the move exposed a “secret understanding” between chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“The TRS’s support to NDA candidate has again proved that KCR’s party is an undeclared ally of the BJP,” Telangana Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy said.

But TRS dismissed the suggestion. “...they should understand that the fight was not between the Congress and BJP. The candidate was from (Bihar chief minister) Nitish Kumar’s party. We consider Nitish Kumar a secular person and he had called our leader (KCR). That does not mean we have gone with the BJP. That is a wrong notion,” TRS leader A P Jithender Reddy said.

“...who are they (Congress) to say that we have gone with the BJP? We have always maintained that TRS will give issue-based support to the BJP. Whenever they (government) are right, we support them. When they are wrong, we oppose them.”

Gandhi is expected to attack the TRS government over its “failures”. He will also take on Owaisi in the AIMIM citadel. He will be in Owaisi’s parliamentary constituency on August 14.

The Congress and Owaisi shared good relations till some years ago but now are on the warpath. Owaisi attacks the Congress for its failure to protect the Muslims from communal riots and for depriving the community of political power. The Congress accuses the Hyderabad MP of having a “tacit pact” with BJP.

“The entry of AIMIM into the poll fray in Maharashtra clearly established Owaisi’s intention to divide secular vote to give BJP a clear advantage. His double speak stands exposed,” said Congress leader M Shashidhar Reddy. “The Muslims of Karnataka did not vote for the Janata Dal (Secular) because of Owaisi. In Telangana, AIMIM is with TRS and TRS is clearly with the BJP. Congress must directly reach out to the Muslims and wean them away from the AIMIM.”

Owaisi is unruffled. “Even Amit Shah (BJP chief) is trying his level best for Hyderabad parliamentary constituency. So, Rahul Gandhi is also visiting now. Let them keep trying.”

The Congress had failed to make an impact in the twin parliamentary constituencies of Hyderabad, which AIMIM has held for over three decades and Secunderabad in 2014. The Congress is keen to put up a “strong candidate” against Owaisi in 2019 polls. It is likely to field cricketer-turned-politician Mohammad Azharuddin.

Political analyst C Narasimha Rao said Congress alone cannot defeat TRS. “It has to join other state parties. TRS is no longer carrying the sentiments of Telangana and the people are not happy with its performance. Welfare schemes alone will not suffice...”

First Published: Aug 11, 2018 07:05 IST