PTI Karimnagar, Telangana, India
Nov 29, 2018, 01.32 PM
Hopeful that its 'grand alliance' against the ruling TRS will succeed in Telangana polls, the Congress expects a big jump in its tally by winning at least 75 seats in the 119-member assembly.
The Congress state unit working president Ponnam Prabhakar Goud said there is a direct fight between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the BJP is nowhere in the picture for December 7 polls.
The Congress, which had won just 22 seats in 2014 state polls, is part of a grand alliance this time along with Telugu Desam Party (TDP), CPI and Telangana Jana Samiti (TJS).
"The grand alliance is not an experiment and we are hopeful it will succeed. Our party will win at least 75 seats," Goud told PTI in an interview.
The 52-year-old leader called this election a "do or die" situation for the Congress, saying its fight is not only against the TRS candidates but also against the "money power of KCR" and communal forces led by the BJP at the Centre.
TRS chief and caretaker chief minister K Chandrashekar's party has fielded candidates in 107 seats, while Congress is contesting in 94 seats as part of the grand alliance.
Asserting that the TRS is "scared" of the grand alliance, the Congress leader said, "Instead of talking about their achievements, the TRS is attacking us and our leader Rahul Gandhi."
The TRS is not even giving reasons for advancing polls by eight months, he added.
While the Telangana assembly polls would have otherwise happened along with Lok Sabha elections in 2019, KCR, as the chief minister is popularly known as, dissolved the assembly ahead of time and the state elections, therefore, got clubbed with four other states -- Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Mizoram and Rajasthan.
Out of these five states, voting will take place in Rajasthan and Telangana on December 7, while other three states have already voted. Counting of votes for all five states is scheduled for December 11.
Goud, an OBC leader, is contesting from the Karimnagar constituency, which is 160 km from Telangana's capital Hyderabad. In his fight against the TRS and the BJP in the assembly election, Goud is banking heavily on his "good work" done during his term as an MP from 2009 to 2014.
While the TRS has renominated G Kamalakar, who won both the 2009 and 2014 elections, the BJP has fielded B Sanjay Kumar, who lost to the TRS candidate in the last election.
Asked about the TRS's performance in the constituency, the Congress leader said there has not been any development but the incumbent chief minister claims that it has been developed like New York.
"The CM thinks Karimnagar has been developed like New York. I challenge him to go around the constituency and see the plight of roads. There is no development at all. I will withdraw my candidature (if proven wrong)," he said.
The Karimnagar constituency was one of the hotbeds for the separate Telangana statehood agitation.
"TRS won on the basis of the Telangana pride. People voted them after getting attracted to their welfare schemes, but not all promises have been fulfilled," Goud said.
He claimed the TRS activists are now joining the Congress as they are unable to bear the "torture and monarchism" of some TRS leaders.
Senior TRS leaders, however, rubbished these claims.
In Karimnagar assembly constituency, there are 2,77,236 voters including 1,39,065 men, 1,38,135 women and 36 others.
The Congress state unit working president Ponnam Prabhakar Goud said there is a direct fight between the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the BJP is no where in the picture for December 7 polls.