Congress leaders say it will improve party’s tally and push TRS into background

Political considerations, more specifically improvement of the party’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections, are being cited as the primary aim of Congress in bringing Rayala-Telangana back to the table.

This proposal to create a hybrid State comprising 10 districts of Telangana and Kurnool and Anantapur in Rayalaseema is a clear deviation from the Congress Working Committee’s decision to create Telangana with 10 districts and Hyderabad as its capital. Among other parties, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) is stoutly opposed to the move which will lead to division in two equal parts of Assembly (147 seats each) and Lok Sabha (21 each). On the other hand, the MIM has been plumping for inclusion of Kurnool and Anantapur in Telangana while Union Minister K. Suryaprakash Reddy has submitted resolutions passed by 1,700 gram panchayats supporting the proposal.

Chiru, Damodar briefed

Lending credence to reports about the Centre’s proposal, Union Minister Jairam Ramesh, who is spearheading the latest initiatives, held a lengthy meeting with Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Rajanarasimha to convince Telangana leaders to agree to the Rayala-Telangana proposal. Separately, Congress president Sonia Gandhi gave an audience to Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi and sounded him out about the move. “Rayala-Telangana is on cards though no final decision has been taken,” Mr. Raja Narasimha told reporters after meeting Mr. Ramesh while Mr. Chiranjeevi chipped in to say, “Centre has not ruled out Rayala-Telangana.” Congress leaders say the Rayala-Telangana move, though opposed initially by their own party leaders, would help improve the party’s tally in the next election and push TRS into the background.

Considering that the TRS leadership is showing no inclination to join in an electoral alliance, let alone merge with the ruling party before bifurcation, the Congress party’s plan is to get a majority on its own. The TRS is unlikely to win in the two Rayalaseema districts which have four Lok Sabha and 28 Assembly seats.