Fine Balancing Act in Anti-TRS Alliance’s Seat-sharing Formula
Congress to contest 94 seats, offers TDP 14 seats, TJS eight and CPI three seats
New Delhi: The seat-sharing formula adopted by the parties that have formed an alliance against the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) ahead of the Telangana assembly election signifies a spirit of accommodation among the partners but also poses a challenge to the new alliance. The Congress on Thursday announced that it will contest 94 seats while it has offered the TDP14 seats, Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) eight and CPI three seats. Barring the CPI bargaining for one or two more seats, and the TDP seeking changes on a couple of seats, the lar- ger seat-sharing formula appears to be a done deal, said people aware of the matter. The alliance partners are all set to declare their respective candidates soon, they said.
The dramatic cobbling up of the opposition alliance in Telangana, called ‘prajakutami’, soon after the TRS government dissolved the assembly and opted for early election, has suddenly thrown up a challenge to the ruling TRS which was expecting a walkover in the polls.
Flexibility among the partners in the opposition alliance is evident, especially since the Congress and the TDP had won 19 and 15 seats respectively in the previous election but now the TDP has accepted just 14 seats while the Congress will contest from 94 seats.
Nonetheless, with the TRS accusing the TDP of being anti-Telangana and the Congress of being a “betrayer” by allying with such a party, the newly formed coalition faces a stiff challenge of keeping the focus on anti-incumbency in the upcoming election.
Given that the Congress base in Telangana had been battered after the bifurcation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, the alliance spells an unexpected boost for the Congress as it is being acknowledged as the main opposition party. The TDP has accepted a junior status mainly because it knows it has been fast losing base in Telanagana. At the same time, TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu would be hoping that keeping the Congress in good humour in Telangana could help him stitch an alliance in Andhra Pradesh to his party’s advantage.
Also part of the coalition is TJS, whose leader M Kodandaram has settled for contesting on eight seats after claiming for long that his party would contest from all 119 assembly seats. For the CPI, the opportunity to contest from at least three seats keeps alive the hope of the party opening an account in the assembly.