The Electoral Battle in Telangana

Apr 15, 2014

With the last date for withdrawal of nominations passing on April 12, the electoral line-up for the General elections and Assembly polls in Telangana region of the undivided Andhra Pradesh has become clear. It is going to be multi-cornered contests -- Congress-CPI combine, TDP-BJP combine, TRS, CPI(M) and YSRCP on their own. In Seemandhra region also it is going to be the same except that the seat adjustment of Congress and CPI is limited to only Telangana and the TRS is non-existent in that region.

The CPI(M) is contesting two Lok Sabha constituencies, Nalgonda and Bhuvanagiri apart from 38 assembly seats in Telangana. It has withdrawn its candidate from Khammam after reaching an understanding with YSRCP. This understanding is limited to Khammam district. 

The CPI reached an understanding with Congress party for Khammam Lok Sabha and 9 assembly seats in the region. CPI undivided state committee secretary K Narayana is the candidate for Lok Sabha from Khammam. Congress has not put up a candidate from here. The CPI has justified its alliance with Congress saying that the situation in Telangana is different from all India where they would continue to fight the Congress.

The CPI(M) has ruled out supporting Narayana's candidature since the CPI has allied with the Congress. It has made it clear that it will not have any truck with those parties that are aligned with either BJP or Congress.

The TDP and BJP forged an alliance after intense wrangling over number of seats and the constituencies to contest. The TDP has conceded 8 Lok Sabha seats (out of 17) and 48 Assembly seats (out of 119) to the BJP in Telangana. In AP, it has conceded 5 Lok Sabha (out of 25) and 15 Assembly (out of 175 seats). This sparked off resentment among aspirants in both parties and led to vandalism in their offices. Security at both state offices was beefed up. 

Chandrababu joined hands with BJP once again after a gap of 10 years. It may be recalled he defected to the NDA camp just on the eve of 1999 elections even while he was Convenor of United Front alliance. He quit NDA in 2003 citing Gujarat riots. He had also publicly stated that it was his biggest mistake in life to have joined hands with the BJP. But now once again he has shifted camp opportunistically. He is praising the same Modi to the skies saying that if TDP comes to power in residual AP, he will bring Gujarat like "development" to the new state. Some Muslim leaders in TDP like the editor of Urdu daily Siasat, Syed Zahed Ali Khan have quit the TDP protesting this alliance.

The calculation of TDP is that this alliance will help in projecting the party's bid for power in AP in terms of Chandrababu Naidu's governance record and Modi's backing for Central assistance in the future. The BJP Telangana unit was not at all keen given the impression among people that Chandrababu tried till the last minute to block the creation of Telangana. But the state unit was apparently over-ruled by central leaders who are keen to take Chandrababu Naidu into the NDA fold and use his services for government formation in case there is a shortfall of numbers. There is talk of him being made the NDA Convenor.