The ‘tamasha’ of small clashes and disturbances within the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and sporadic resistance to some of the MLA candidates have been amplified by the media that is surreptitiously kowtowing to the Praja Kutami.
Taking a cue from these temporary irritants, the TDP coterie has begun to campaign that it’s not a smooth sailing for the TRS. The Congress began enjoying the narrative, for it cannot create any campaign, thanks to its terrible media management skills and squabbling leaders.
While all this is one side of the coin, the flip side is now open for all to see. The Congress and the Telugu Desam are now ‘tasting the thunder’ with their own party leaders exposing the true colours of their respective parties.
Jana Reddy hounded
Fissures within the Congress saw the light of the day at Miryalaguda when Leader of the Opposition K Jana Reddy visited the town on Saturday. Followers of local leader Shankar Naik gheraoed Jana Reddy and stalled his meetings demanding Congress ticket to Scheduled Tribes. The revolt attained a serious overtone that forced Jana Reddy and others to beat a retreat and leave the meeting place without taking up the campaign. Some of Shankar Naik’s associates attacked some vehicles and ransacked them.
The veteran Congress leader on Sunday claimed that he was the most popular leader in the two Telugu States. People in most parts of the two States “own me as the one belonging to their religion and caste,” he claimed, signaling that he was the front runner in the race for the top job in the State if the “Kutami” is elected to power.
The second rung leaders and aspirants of the party tickets have come to blows at Gandhi Bhavan, the Congress headquarters in Hyderabad on Sunday. In fact, Gandhi Bhavan has been a mute spectator to embarrassing dissident activity during almost every election season.
Two youths attempted suicide – one by dousing himself with kerosene and trying for self-immolation, and another by slitting his wrist with a knife — demanding party ticket to former MLA Bhikshapathi Yadav from Serilingampally Assembly constituency, which is being eyed even by the alliance partner, the TDP. The Congress workers, who staged a demonstration in front of Gandhi Bhavan for over six hours, demanded that the seat is given to BCs and that too to a Congress nominee.
Bhikshapathi Yadav’s claim to fame in Serilingampally is that he was a sarpanch of Serilingampally village panchayat, and was elected as the first municipal chairman when it was upgraded to a municipality. When Serilingampally Assembly constituency was created, he was elected the first MLA from there. The MLA in the just-dissolved Assembly, Arekapudi Gandhi, was elected on the TDP ticket and he later joined the TRS.
Infighting in TDP comes to fore
Meanwhile, there is a cutthroat competition within the TDP for the seat. Acrimonious scenes were witnessed on the roads when supporters of two aspirants, Venigalla Ananda Prasad and Movva Satyanarayana, came to blows demanding the party ticket to their leader. While Ananda Prasad group embarked on a bike rally, the opposite group squatted on the road to prevent it. This led to heated exchanges and then the workers came to blows. Though the two leaders agreed to work together, the frayed tempers continue to rage.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader the late P Janardhan Reddy’s son and former MLA P Vishnuvardhan Reddy are campaigning in Jubilee Hills Assembly constituency, expecting re-nomination. Since the sitting MLA, Maganti Gopinath, elected on TDP ticket, migrated to the TRS and is contesting as TRS candidate, the TDP has too many aspirants in this constituency. Ditto is the scene in Qutbullapur constituency, where TDP MLA K P Vivekanand joined the TRS and seeking re-election on TRS ticket. Congress leader Kuna Srisailam Goud is nursing this constituency while TDP leaders Arvindkumar Goud and Kuna Venkatesh Goud are expecting TDP ticket and insisting that the Congress leave the seat for their party in adjustment.
While Prakash Goud, who was elected on the TDP ticket in 2014, is now the TRS nominee from Rajendranagar, former Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy is insisting that her son Karthik Reddy be fielded from that constituency, while she herself is seeking Maheswaram seat. However, the TDP is insisting that it should get Rajendranagar seat.
The TDP has enhanced its demand from 14 to 16 seats as part of the adjustment in the Praja Kutami, while the Telangana Jana Samithi wants 10 seats. The relationship of the Congress with Prof M Kodandaram’s fledgling Telangana Jana Samithi is very fragile. The CPI is spitting fire against the major partner of the alliance, the Congress, for not acceding to its demand. If the Congress doesn’t allocate five seats, the CPI may contest 40 Assembly seats, denting the prospect of the Alliance garnering those votes.
Thus, the Alliance’s credibility has taken a severe beating even before the seat sharing is completed.