The Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) have arrived at a seat-sharing agreement for the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Telangana, the country's newest state.
Telangana state unit chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah is a happy man for he will no longer have to put up with Renuka Choudhary, who represented the Khammam seat twice in the Lok Sabha. Chowdhary, originally a Seemandhra resident, faced a volley of eggs and tomatoes when she claimed to be a Telangana leader duringrecent public appearances.
"I am glad I don't have to face her,"was Lakshmaiah comment after the seat was conceded to the CPI by All-India Congress Committee general secretary Digvijay Singh during three days of talks in New Delhi and Hyderabad before the agreemen twas reached. CPI's state secretary K Narayana will now contest the Khammam seat.
"Contesting the Khammam Parliament seat, the citadel of Marxists, is a moral victory over the CPM,"said senior CPI leader G Mallesh, a sitting MLA; relations betweenthe CPI and CPM have soured further ever since the Marxists opposed Telangana's bifurcation.
The CPI accepted Congress' offer ofnine assembly segments across five Telangana districts, including Adilabad, Ranga Reddy, Khammam, Nalgonda and Warangal. The party initially wanted two Parliament and 12 assembly seats but relented when it was offered the Khammam seat and nine assembly seats. Aformal announcement will be made in a couple of days, said Narayana. Telangana, which has 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats, will go topolls on April 30.
The alliance comes as a huge relief tothe Congress, which suffered a setback after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) declined to merge or form an alliance with the party, following the state's creation.
Earlier, the CPI had hoped for a CPI-Congress-TRS alliance but the TRS didn't respond to its over tures. "TRS did not accept our alliance. They have kept us waiting without a firm yes or no, which led us to seal the deal withthe Congress," said Narayana.