Telangana polls: 'Praja Kutami' a trial run before big fight of 2019
Having joined hands against the ruling TRS in Telangana, opposition parties are hopeful that the success of their experiment in this southern state will act as a booster dose to form a broader coalition to take on BJP and its allies in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
The grand alliance 'Praja Kutami' -- comprising Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jan Samithi (TJS) and CPI -- is taking on the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for December 7 state assembly elections.
While the state is witnessing a three-cornered fight between the Praja Kutami, the BJP and the TRS, the opposition alliance has been accusing the ruling party of being an ally of the saffron party. The BJP and the TRS have denied the allegation.
They said the TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has already taken a lead to bring together the non-BJP political parties for the 2019 general elections and the first meeting of the grand alliance is scheduled for next week in New Delhi.
"First of all, we are seeking to ensure that the TRS is defeated so that a strong ally of the BJP is eliminated. The poll outcome in Telangana will determine how the grand alliance will emerge at the Centre to take on the BJP," CPI National Secretary K Narayana told PTI in an interview.
He alleged that the TRS government has been supporting the BJP all along and for that reason the TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao (KCR) is not commenting on corruption and has not spoken about the Rafale deal.
Stating that the success of 'Praja Kutami' in Telangana will help forge a strong alliance at the Centre, Narayana said there would be pre-poll and post-poll alliances in different states, taking into account the interest of each state.
For instance, a pre-poll alliance is not possible in Kerala where the Left is fighting against Congress and in West Bengal where the Left parties are fighting against the ruling TMC.
However in Bihar, there is "already an understanding" for a pre-poll alliance between Lalu Yadav's RJD, Congress, CPI and CPM. Similarly in Tamil Nadu, DMK and Congress have a tie-up and in Karnataka the Congress alliance with JD(S) will continue, he said.
"The Maha Kutami at the Centre will be formed according to the interest of the states. Some may have an alliance at local level, but after elections those opposing BJP will come together," Narayana said.
Echoing similar views, TDP's polit bureau member and former MP Nama Nageswara Rao -- who is contesting from the Khammam constituency -- said the alliance with its rival party Congress in Telangana was a "democratic compulsion".
"We have to save our democracy. On one side, TRS does not want TDP in the state. In fact, the KCR's career began from TDP but he is telling he will not allow TDP to be in Telangana. On the other side, BJP does not want any regional force to emerge. Because of this type of dictatorship in the state and at the Centre, we have to go for a grand alliance at the Centre also," he explained.
Asserting that the impression created by the TRS that TDP was anti-Telangana is "totally wrong," Rao said that as a parliamentary party leader he had given his voice vote in favour of a separate Telangana in 2014.
"I was the first person to give the voice vote in Parliament in February 2014 to pass the Andhra Pradesh State Reorganisation Act," he said.
The TDP has strong roots in Telangana and it is not just an Andhra party, he added.
Telangana Pradesh Congress President Uttam Reddy's wife Nalamada Padmavati Reddy, who is contesting for second time from Kodad constituency in Nalgonda district, said the next Lok Sabha election would be all about restoring the country's democracy.
"That will be the last democratic election if the BJP comes back to power at the Centre. (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi wants to change the Constitution of India to hold election once in 25 years. This is not the India our forefathers had fought for and therefore all non-BJP political parties have to come together," she claimed.
She exuded confidence that Congress-led alliance will get a comfortable majority in Telangana, but alleged that in such an eventuality the BJP may try to disrupt the government formation and give more time to KCR to buy the MLAs.
(With inputs from agencies.)