We are looking to form an alliance in Telangana, says state Congress leader
With Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao announcing early state elections, the Congress has begun talks with other opposition parties, mainly the Telugu Desam Party, to form an alliance to take on Rao’s Telangaga Rashtra Samithi. Dr Rama Chandra Khuntia, Congress general secretary in-charge of Telangana in an interview to Srinivasa Rao Apparasu said the Telangana alliance will be part of the “overall strategy to form a grand alliance at the national level”. Edited excerpts:
Has the announcement of early elections caught you off guard?
No, we were expecting it. The talk of early polls has been doing rounds especially after Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Hyderabad. We have been saying it since then that we are ready for the polls whenever they are held.
Why do you think KCR (as the CM is popularly called) has dissolved the assembly nine months ahead of the completion of its term?
KCR might have got scared after seeing the kind of response (Rahul) Gandhi received from a cross section of the population and also the response the Telangana Congress party is getting for its bus yatra. Secondly, he may have thought the opposition parties were not prepared for early polls in terms of resources, unlike the TRS which has all its money and muscle power ready. Finally, he thought he would surprise us by announcing early polls.
But KCR says there is a political fragility in the state that forced him to go in for early polls..
That is a strange and stupid reasoning. Where is the political fragility in the state? He has 90 MLAs in the 119-member assembly, besides the support of seven MIM MLAs. With nearly 100 MLAs on his side, he is reigning supreme and so, where is question of fragility?
Normally, the government of the day dissolves the assembly when there are extreme circumstances such as a collapse of the administration or political instability due to slender majority. There is no such situation here in Telangana. It is obvious that Rao is afraid of Opposition unity and Congress’s growing popularity.
How well is the Congress party prepared for the elections?
We are fully prepared. We have formed committees from booth level to state level, except in some areas. We have come out with a manifesto to tell people what we will do if we come to power.
But, the TRS is already way ahead of you in declaration of candidates for 105 seats and also launching the campaign..
Why should we be in such a hurry when the election schedule itself has not been announced? It means KCR has an ulterior motive behind his strategy. He has conspired with the BJP in dissolving the assembly and even going to the extent of announcing the election dates. How can he do that? It is the prerogative of the Election Commission.
As far as the Congress is concerned, we are taking feedback from our leaders at the grassroots level on the candidates. We may come out with a list by the month’s end.
Why are you going in for an alliance with other parties?
The Congress party has been trying to bring all the non-BJP parties together across the country with an objective of bringing down Modi from power. As part of the overall strategy, it is also looking for alliances in the states to prevent BJP and its allies from coming to power. In Telangana, we strongly believe that KCR is a puppet of Modi. That is precisely why we are looking forward to forging an alliance with like-minded parties like the TDP, the CPI, Telangana Jana Samithi etc.
KCR calls the Congress a Delhi sultanate and wants the people of Telangana not to be ‘slaves of Delhi’ but live with self-respect...
Ours is a national party and we have to take decisions at the national level. TRS is a regional party and hence takes decisions at the regional level. Where is the question of mortgaging self-respect here?
And what self-respect he is talking about? It was our former president Sonia Gandhi, who granted Telangana statehood and restored the self-pride and self-respect of the people.