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Is CPI mulling alliance with Congress in Telangana for 2019 elections?

LiveMint logoLiveMint 29-09-2017 Yunus Y. Lasania

Hyderabad: Is the Communist Party of India (CPI) contemplating an alliance with the Congress in Telangana for the 2019 general elections? That is the signal currently being sent from the CPI ranks, who feel that the party cannot be relevant in state politics unless it wins some seats and that contesting polls alone might end up hurting its own prospects electorally.

Clearly, the CPI wants to avoid repeating its performance in the 2014 elections, where it won just one seat. The lone legislator from the Deverakonda assembly constituency seat, however, defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), along with legislators from the Congress, Telugu Desam Party and the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) as well. (TRS won 63 out of 119 seats in 2014, and currently has 90 seats post the defections).

“Only a CPI and CPM (Communist Party of India – Marxist) alliance cannot work, as we won’t be able to get seats. We followed that in the Bihar and Tamil Nadu assembly elections in the recent past and it did not work,” said a senior functionary from the CPI’s Telangana unit. He added on condition of anonymity that the CPI is well aware of the fact that it cannot win seats if it fights the elections on its own.

In fact, the CPI has also invited the Congress and other opposition parties, barring the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), to participate in its ‘Poru Yatra’, which is a two-month programme through which the CPI will conduct meetings and cultural events to talk about the ‘failures’ of the ruling TRS.

The opposition parties, including the BJP, are at present united and are standing with the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) to demand the rollback of GO (government order) 39, which the state government passed to form farmer coordination committees through nominated posts. These committees, they allege, will allow the TRS to appoint its party cadres.

When asked if a tie-up was anywhere on the cards, CPI national secretary K. Narayana said, “The party has taken a decision that ‘left secular democratic forces’ should come together. We have to plan accordingly.” He, however, said that a decision to that effect has not been taken yet.

“When you say secular democratic force, the only party which fits into that space is the Congress. The TDP and YSRCP are both concentrating on Andhra Pradesh at the moment,” stated the senior CPI functionary. Unlike in AP, where the TDP and YSRCP are the only two contenders, Telangana still has array of opposition parties, though weakened after defections.

A senior office-bearer from the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) also said that an alliance between the Congress and the CPI is very much possible, but that such a decision would be taken only when the elections are around. The person didn’t want to be named.

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