The Congress Sunday maintained “friendly contests” in some segments among partners of the People’s Alliance would have no bearing on the grouping’s electoral prospects, even as negotiations are on with the “rebels” to see they retire from the contest before the polls begin.
In some constituencies of Telangana, where Assembly elections would be held on December 7, Congress and Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) rebels are in the fray in seats which have been allotted to other partners.
“You cannot call them rebels. We (the alliance partners) could not convince some of our candidates, so their participation is friendly contest,” AICC in-charge of Telangana R C Khuntia told PTI.
The TDP, the TJS led by professor M Kodandaram and CPI are part of the Congress-led People’s Alliance(‘Prajakutami’) which has struck a seat-sharing deal among the partners.
However in Wyra and Bellampalli, for example, the two seats have been allotted to the CPI, notwithstanding Congressrebels — Ramulu Naik and G Vinod, who is the son of former Union Minister late G Venkataswamy — are in the fray there.
“This will not affect our winning possibility. Two-three days before the elections, some decision may be taken to see to they (the rebels) withdraw from the contest. Negotiations are on with them”, he said.
Khuntia expressed confidence over the alliance coming to power after the elections to the 119-member Assembly, noting the collective “strength” of the two parties.
“We will get between 75 and 80 seats”, he said.
CPI general secretary Suravaram Sudhakar Reddy said, given the current trend, it looks like a tough contest between the Congress-led alliance and the TRS.
“I hope, ultimately, the opposition front will gain the upper hand. The front has an edge because four parties have come together”, Reddy said.
Sources in the alliance said the CPI(M)-led Bahujan Left Front, which has fielded candidates in 109 segments, may split some votes which would have otherwise gone to the People’s Alliance.
There is also some “heartburn” in the Left camp over the CPI(M) and CPI fighting separately.
“We (BLF) are contesting in 109 seats, out of that we are concentrating on 20 to 25 seats. We are expecting to win at least five seats,” CPI(M) Telangana unit secretaryTammineni Veerabhadram said.
“Through Congress rule, they (CPI) want to achieve Telangana development, it is not possible at all,” Veerabhadram said.
On CPI(M) and CPI choosing different electoral paths in Telangana, CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat told PTI, “In Telangana, BJP is not a factor. It is important to project alternative policy platform which is what CPI(M) and BLF are doing.