TRS averse to merger with Cong

Despite the promise that it would merge with the ruling Congress if a separate Telangana state was formed, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now sending signals that point to the contrary.

The TRS, which has been at the forefront of the statehood movement since its inception in 2001, is in favour of forging an electoral alliance with the Congress instead of outright merger. On its part, the Congress leadership has sent feelers indicating that it was willing to project TRS founder-president K Chandrasekhar Rao as the first Chief Minister of the new Telangana state in the event of a merger.

KCR, as the TRS supremo is known in political circles, is now camping in Delhi, meeting several Congress bigwigs as part of a thanksgiving gesture for the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and fulfilling the long-cherished dream of the people of the Telangana region. He had made a public commitment in the past that he would merge his sub-regional party with the Congress once Parliament passed the Telangana Bill. However, there is growing pressure from party leaders against the merger on the ground that the TRS' identity and image, built over several years of struggle and sacrifices, would be lost forever.

Moreover, several senior TRS leaders have been arguing that the party has a “historic responsibility” to play a role in the reconstruction of the Telangana state.

They have been pitching for alliance with the Congress for the forthcoming simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha.

“We are guided by aspirations and interests of our party cadre rather than an ambition to rule the new state. The people of Telangana know that the TRS is solely responsible for the success of the statehood movement,” said a senior party leader.

“There are people who toiled for 13 long years through some of the toughest times.
We cannot ignore their views and aspirations at the time of final victory.”

In the present Lok Sabha, the Congress has 12 out of 17 seats from Telangana, while the TRS has two. Out of the 119 Assembly seats in the region, the Congress and the TRS account for 46 and 17 seats respectively.

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