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Telangana: Singareni union polls acid test for TRS, Kavitha

The Singareni elections are considered to be the prelude to the 2019 general elections, as they cover as many as 12 assembly constituencies in Telangana.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2017 23:49 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana Rashtra Samithi,Singareni Collieries Company Limited,Kalvakuntla Kavitha
Kalvakuntla Kavitha is the daughter of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.(HT Photo)

The ensuing trade union elections in the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), one of the largest coal companies in the country with 55,000 coal mine workers, scheduled to be held on October 5, have turned out be an acid test for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

The Singareni elections are considered to be the prelude to the 2019 general elections, as they cover as many as 12 assembly constituencies spread over five districts — Adilabad, Mancherial, Karimnagar, Peddapalli and Bhadradri Kothagudem. The TRS, which had won all the 12 seats in the 2014 elections, is going all out to retain its hold by winning these trade union elections, while the major Opposition parties — the Congress, the TDP and the CPI (M) have formed a grand alliance to defeat the ruling party.

Leading the TRS-affiliated trade union Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS) is Nizamabad MP Kalvakuntla Kavitha, daughter of chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

National unions like the Congress-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) and the CPI-affiliated All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), which were bitter rivals in the past, joined hands with Telugu Desam Party-backed Telugu Nadu Trade Union Council (TNTUC) to defeat the TRS-led union.

Kavitha’s entry, however, makes the polls interesting, as a woman leader is leading her party’s trade union for the first time. “All these coal miners were actively involved in the movement for separate Telangana state and they know how KCR alone could solve their long-pending issues ...” Kavitha told HT.

She said under the earlier trade union regimes, the workers suffered.

“The welfare of workers was thrown to winds. There was no housing facility for the retired employees and their dependents were not given preference in job recruitments,” she said.

Opposition parties, however, brush aside Kavitha’s promises. “Last time, too, the TBGKS won the trade union elections in Singareni by making as many as 72 promises. But none of them have been fulfilled. Now, the TRS has roped in all its MLAs and ministers... luring the workers with freebees by spending crores ... The ruling party has also bought several union leaders with money and political posts to create split in the opposition,” Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt N Uttam Kumar Reddy told HT. “Yet, the workers are with us. They will teach a fitting lesson ...”

First Published: Sep 28, 2017 23:48 IST