Lakshmaiah confident Congress will form govt in Telangana

The newly-appointed president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Ponnala Lakshmaiah, despite the chips being down for his party, comes across as a confident man, claiming that the ruling party will win as many as 100 of the 119 assembly seats and 15 of the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Thu 20 Mar 2014, 12:16 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:39 AM

“We will form the government in the new state of Telangana,” he said, literally laughing away the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s (TRS) claim that the people of Telangana were with them for fulfilling the long-cherished dream of achieving a separate state.

TRS chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, who recently announced that his party would not have any truck with Congress leave alone merging with it, has been claiming that it was his party which was responsible for the division of the state and creation of Telangana. The new state will come into existence on June 2, the “Appointed Day” as announced by the Centre after simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha.

In an interview to a regional channel, Lakshmaiah wondered how the TRS could make such tall claims when it has not been able to win more than 26 Assembly seats in the past. “That was when the movement for a separate state was at its peak. And now that Telangana has been given by the Congress, and more importantly party president Sonia Gandhi who was determined to carve out a separate state, how do you expect people to sail with TRS?” the TPCC chief asked.

“The TRS fared badly in the Singareni coal mines elections as also in the local bodies’ elections in the region consistently. This has been their showing in electoral battles, and they claim they are going to win the elections,” he said, adding that it was only media hype and elections surveys which were giving them false hopes.

Making it clear that Congress was not averse to striking an alliance with like-minded parties, Lakshmaiah said they had not sought merger of TRS with the Congress. “In fact, it was Chandrasekhar Rao who announced that he would merge his party with Congress if the UPA government conceded the long-pending demand for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh,” he asserted.

Asked if the Congress was willing to approach the TRS on the issue of forging an alliance, he said KCR, as the TRS leader is popularly known, announced the setting up of a committee under K Keshava Rao (former Congress Rajya Sabha member who joined the TRS last year) to take up the matter with other parties.

“As of now, there is nothing on the cards for striking an alliance with the TRS. If the Keshava Rao committee has been set up with the express objective of taking up the alliance issue with others, it’s only logical that they approach other parties,” he said.

The 70-year-old Congress leader, who hails from a Backward Class community, has an MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from a US university. He returned to India in 1978 and plunged into politics.

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