Telangana set for 2-month long poll campaign

Telangana set for 2-month long poll campaign

TRS Supremo and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao with party leaders at a public meeting in Nizamabad, Wednesday, Oct 3, 2018. (PTI Photo)

With the announcement of the schedule for the Telangana assembly elections, the state is set to witness an intense campaign by the political parties spanning two months. Polling would take place for the 119-member assembly on December 7 in Telangana, along with Rajasthan, according to the schedule announced by the Election Commission Saturday.

The political scene has already hotted up in the state with the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the opposition Congress engaged in a bitter war of words in the last several days.

TRS president and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who has gone for early polls by dissolving the assembly last month ahead of its term, has been targeting the proposed Congress-led alliance comprising TDP, CPI and others, seeking to invoke the Telangana sentiment. In a blistering attack on the grand alliance, he sought to know should the self-respect of Telangana be handed over to 'Andhraites' again.

"Should we handover the self-respect of Telangana to Andhraites again?... Should we become slaves to Amaravati (Andhra Pradesh capital). Should decisions of Telangana happen in Telangana or Delhi?" he had asked at a recent campaign rally. Rao, who stormed to power in 2014 in the first elections after Telangana was carved out, has gone in for early polls seeking to cash in on the perceived positive atmosphere prevailing for the TRS in the state.

He had also trained guns on TDP supremo and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, questioning his move to align with the Congress, reminding that the party was founded by late N T Rama Rao on anti-Congress plank. Naidu, however, has sought to blame Rao for his decision to join hands with Congress, saying TRS spurned his offer for a tie up.

While accusing the Congress-TDP of doing nothing for Telangana despite being in power for decades, the TRS chief has been asking the people to vote for his party to ensure development. Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N Uttam Kumar Reddy has attacked Rao, saying he had no moral right to question his party as the TRS had an alliance with TDP in 2009.

The war of words, mainly between the TRS and the Congress, is only expected to intensify during the long campaign period. Following the announcement of the election schedule, Reddy has express confidence that the Congress would emerge the winner. TPCC spokesperson Sravan Dasoju referred to a petition on alleged discrepencies in the electoral rolls pending in the state high court and qustioned the EC's decision in announcing the schedule.

"I don't know what is the hurry for them.The matter is pending...they have gone ahead and announced the schedule," he said Saturday. However, he said the Congress was ready to face the battle and claimed TRS' defeat was certain. BJPs Telangana unit president K Laxman welcomed the announcement of poll schedule.

"We are prepared for it. We have already geared up our machinery," he told PTI. The party, which had five members in the dissolved assembly, has said the polls would give it an opportunity to assess its actual strength on the ground. It had contested the 2014 elections in alliance with the TDP, which pulled out of the NDA early this year over the issue of special category status for Andhra Pradesh. BJP chief Amit Shah has already sounded the poll bugle and he would address a meeting again on October 10 at Karimnagar, Laxman said. According to the poll schedule announced by the EC for Telangana and four other states, counting of votes would be held on December 11 for all the states.

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