Two days after throwing enough hints and showing eagerness to contest the coming byelections to the 12 Assembly constituencies, Telugu Desam leaders and MLAs from Telangana were on the defensive and in confusion on Wednesday.

Even as a series of meetings took place at party president N. Chandrababu Naidu's residence and the party office, a section of senior leaders like Kadiam Srihari and S. Venugopala Chary felt the party should not enter the fray and leave the Assembly seats to those who have resigned for the cause of Telangana. As this would be in tune with the strong regional sentiment prevailing in the Telangana, the party would stand to gain, they argued.

But a majority of the leaders and MLAs felt that the party should not let go the chance of contesting and winning as many seats as possible in the region and send a strong signal that the party was a force to reckon with in Telangana and had the ability to successfully fight Congress and TRS. Mr. Naidu too seemed to toe the same line.

Yet, the confusion spilled over to the media conference addressed by Nagam Janardhan Reddy and T. Devender Goud on Wednesday. While expressing willingness to contest, they wanted the TRS to convince the Congress not to enter the field so that the TDP could do the same. It should not be misconstrued as running away from elections, but seen in the context of Telangana sentiment in the region and resignations for a cause, they argued.

In the same breath, both the leaders said if the Congress was determined to participate in the elections, TDP too would do the same. They took exception to the way TRS president K. Chandrasekhar Rao was targeting the TDP and wondered if there was ‘match-fixing' between the TRS and Congress.

Mr. Rao seems to have forgotten that it was Congress that betrayed the people of Telangana in 1969 and later and not TDP. They went on to allege that Mr. Rao did nothing since he formed TRS in 2001 and was only interested in promoting his interests and not getting Telangana.

Keywords: Telugu Desambypolls