Congress gears up for by-polls in Telangana

March 10th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

Hyderabad, March 10 (IANS) With the by-polls to four Lok Sabha and 16 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh likely in a couple of months, the ruling Congress is gearing up to face the challenge from the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS). All the TRS parliamentarians and legislators resigned last week to protest the delay in granting separate statehood to Telangana region and decided to contest the by-polls on the issue of separate Telangana state.

The notification for by-elections in these constituencies is likely to be issued next month.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Monday held a meeting with ministers from the backward region and asked them to be ready to take on the TRS, which has intensified the Telangana movement through public meetings.

The chief minister named the ministers for various constituencies and urged them to work to defeat the TRS.

The by-polls to these seats are likely to be held along with two other assembly seats, which fell vacant following the deaths of sitting Congress legislators.

Minister for Rural Development G. Chinna Reddy told newsmen that the chief minister asked the ministers to be ready for the by-elections, which according to the constitution can be held anytime within six months after the resignations.

Chinna Reddy and 18 other ministers were appointed in-charge for the four Lok Sabha and 18 assembly constituencies. Senior minister D. Srinivas has been appointed to look after Adilabad and Karimnagar Lok Sabha constituencies while another senior party leader, K. Jana Reddy, will look after Warangal and Hanamkonda parliamentary constituencies.

The TRS, which was formed by K. Chandrasekhara Rao after he qui the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in 2000, fought the 2004 elections in alliance with the Congress party.

It won five Lok Sabha seats and 26 assembly seats and joined the Congress-led coalition governments both at the centre and in the state. Angry over the delay in carving out separate Telangana state, TRS quit the state government in 2005 and the central government in 2006.

Ten legislators of the party revolted against the party leadership in 2006 while the party expelled senior leader and MP A. Narendra last year following allegations that he was involved in human trafficking scandal.

The chief minister’s meeting with ministers from Telangana assumed significance in view of the TRS stepping up the movement for separate state and the senior leaders of the Congress from Telangana region also mounting pressure on the central leadership to take a clear stand in favour of separate state.

Chinna Reddy said the state unit of the party has left the issue to the central leadership.

“The central leadership will take an appropriate decision at an appropriate time,” he said.

The chief minister also decided to field P. Vishnuvardhan Reddy, son of former minister and senior leader P. Janardhan Reddy from Khairatabad assembly constituency in the state capital.

Janardhan Reddy died of cardiac arrest in December last year.

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