The battle for Telangana has begun in right earnest with Congress and TRS stepping up preparations for the upcoming Assembly polls and the latter reaching out to voters in various constituencies on Thursday. The Telangana Rashtra Samithi has already announced candidates for 105 of the total 119 assembly seats in the state and its nominees have started campaigning in a number of constituencies.
Though the names of candidates announced by TRS evoked opposition from other hopefuls in some constituencies, the nominees in many seats have launched door-to-door and other forms of campaign. TRS MP and party president K Chandrasekhar Rao's daughter K Kavitha addressed meetings on Thursday and appealed to voters to vote for the party for numerous development and welfare schemes to continue.
In comments that were expected to help his party, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was in Hyderabad, claimed that the TRS had no role in the previous UPA government granting statehood to the region. It was at the demand of the then Congress MPs, MLAs and other leaders that the Congress Working Committee had decided in favour of separate Telangana. The UPA government had made the law accordingly, he told reporters.
Congress had announced committees for campaigning, strategy, publicity and others Wednesday and the announcement led to heartburn among some party leaders who were hoping for a better deal. Senior Congress leader and former MP V Hanumantha Rao, who was given responsibility for drawing up strategy for the polls, told reporters Thursday that he wanted to be in the thick of election campaign.
"If strategy is to be done, I am not the one to sit at home. I am used to be among people. I have already got a 'Rath' (for campaigning). The 'Rath' will come in one weeks time...," he told reporters.
Meanwhile, state minister in the caretaker government T Srinivas Yadav dismissed Azad's allegations that TRS had no role in the previous UPA government granting statehood to Telangana and said Congress should look into what it did for people.
Legislative Assembly polls in Telangana were scheduled to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls next year, but the assembly was dissolved earlier this month following a recommendation made by the TRS government.