APCC knocking at old allies door for panchayat polls alliance

Hyderabad, March 30 | Updated: Mar 31 2006, 06:36am hrs
With the panchayat elections round the corner, the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has altered its strategy extending friendship to its (old) allies - the Left parties and Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) - again in the state. Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in July.

While the Congress had, together with CPM, CPI and TRS, fought the Assembly elections, it had broken its ties later for various reasons. However, it had shown its grip over the electorate winning hands down in the elections for the municipalities and cooperatives.

The changed friendship strategy is said to have been imposed by the party high-command in order to hold the TRS leaders from flocking to the BJP.

According to intelligence sources, the TRS second rung leaders are moving closely with BJP groups, especially after Rajnath Singh revealed his partys stand supporting the Telangana statehood, more so during his recent visit to the state. This would be a big blow for the Congress, party sources feel.

However, putting up a brave face, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy told the media that his party has no hassles to join its previous political allies to drive away the fundamental forces like BJP and also to take on firmly its arch rival Telugu Desam Party.

"We have asked our district leaders to have alliances locally with TRS, CPI, CPM and MIM depending on the village-based political options," Dr Reddy said. Though the state leadership is not involved in the selection process etc, they can indulge in some suggestions to strengthen the alliances, he added.

According to analysts, this change in Dr Reddy is a fall out of the secret meeting between TRS president K Chandrasekhara Rao and AP Congress committee president K Keshav Rao.

Dr Reddy feels that he is losing grip over the party. Though Mr Keshav Rao says that there is no secret about the meeting and that have not discussed anything new, analysts point out that the TRS president wants to prove the point to the Congress high-command that only Dr Reddy is opposing a separate Telangana.

After garnering unconditional support from the BJP, the TRS has increased its efforts to bring consensus among Telangana Congress leaders. It is said that they are meeting the Congress leaders from Telangana individually and also group-wise.

Interestingly, the BJP had also increased its pace for consensus for a smooth separation. The party had initiated talks with the leaders of other regions, sources said. According to BJP state president Indrasena Reddy, the BJP will work for friendly parting and strive for a consensus among the leaders of all the parties at regional levels.