Congress, TDP, CPI form alliance for Telangana assembly elections

Three opposition parties in Telangana – the Congress, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) – on Tuesday announced the formation of ‘Maha Kootami’ (grand alliance) to defeat the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in the upcoming assembly elections

The leaders of the three parties went in a delegation to Raj Bhawan in the evening and submitted a memorandum to governor ESL Narasimhan seeking imposition of President’s Rule in Telangana.

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“The caretaker government led by chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (called KCR) has embarked on witch-hunting of opposition party leaders by digging out old cases and getting them arrested. We are afraid there will not be free and fair elections in the state if KCR continues in his seat. So, the governor should recommend the imposition of President’s Rule in the state,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Captain N Uttam Kumar Reddy.

This is for the first time that the TDP, which was founded on an anti-Congress plank in 1982, will be joining hands with the Congress party. The CPI has formed alliances with both the parties in the past. The exact contours of the alliance are still to be framed.

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The heads of the three opposition parties PCC president Reddy, Telangana TDP president L Ramana and CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy, along with other leaders from their parties, discussed the alliance at a hotel in the in Telangana’s Banjara Hills area for nearly four hours on Tuesday.

“We have decided in principle to form into a grand alliance or Maha Kootami for the coming elections. We are working out the modalities for the same. We are also trying to rope in other like-minded parties like Telangana Jana Samithi and CPI (M) into the alliance,” the PCC president said after the discussions.

The BJP and the TRS described the alliance between the Congress and the TDP as “unholy”. BJP state president Dr K Laxman said the TDP was going against the very principle of anti-Congressism on which it was founded. “It is purely an opportunistic alliance.”

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Senior TRS leader and former deputy speaker of the state assembly Padma Devender Reddy said people would not accept the TDP-Congress alliance under any circumstances. “Let there be as many number of parties as they can in the grand alliance. We are not scared. The TRS is going to come back to power with a massive mandate,” she said.

The state Congress, which has accused the current Chief Minister KCR of being a stooge of the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, initially said the election cannot be held this year since a process of revision of electoral rolls is underway.

The Election Commission, however, stopped the roll revision to make way for elections by the year-end. Under the rules, elections must be held in a state within six months of the assembly dissolution of the assembly.

The BJP has said it would go it alone in the election, putting an end to the buzz about a secret understanding between the party and the Chief Minister.

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