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Opposition gears up to take on TRS in Telangana

LiveMint logoLiveMint 11-05-2017 Yunus Lasania

Hyderabad: Almost a month after it conducted meetings and mobilised huge crowds in a show of strength, the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is now set to face opposition parties in the state which are set to protest against it on different issues.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah will be in Telangana later this month, on a three-day visit, as part of the party’s 2019 poll preparations, while the Congress will conduct a meeting on 2 June, the state’s formation day, to highlight the state government’s “failures”.

The protests will begin from 15 May, starting with the ‘Chalo Dharna Chowk’ rally, which is being organized by the non-political Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) and the Left parties. The Congress and the BJP have also decided to support it.

M. Kodandaram, chairman of the TJAC, said, “We have also asked people from other districts to join it, so it will be a big gathering. We have asked everyone to gather at the site.”

The issue has been simmering from about two months, as the police has not been permitting anyone to conduct protests at the unofficial protest site. The TJAC and opposition parties said that the TRS was trying to curtail democratic protests by trying to shift the ‘Dharna Chowk’ outside the city.

Shah will visit the state between 22 and 24 May as part of the BJP’s 2019 election preparations. Both Shah and the Congress are expected to rake up the issue of a steep fall in chilli prices this year, which is believed to have caused discontent among chilli farmers.

“The marketing department completely failed in planning for the produce until it reached the markets. Instead of helping farmers, the government is writing letters to the Centre,” said G. Kishan Reddy, BJP MLA and the party’s floor leader in the Telangana assembly. A Congress leader from the city also said that the anger among chilli farmers will have an effect in at least about 30 assembly seats in the 2019 elections.

In its 2 June meeting, the Congress plans to release a document titled Three Years of TRS Misrule, said Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy. Another Congress leader from the city said that All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi is also expected to address the gathering.

Through the upcoming gatherings, the opposition will also try to regain its lost foothold after the 2016 municipal elections in Hyderabad, in which the TRS and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) won 99 and 44 of the total 150 seats, leaving just seven seats between the Congress, BJP and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

TRS leaders are, however, unfazed. Taduri Srinivas Prajapati, senior TRS leader and chairman of the Most Backward Classes Development Corporation (MBC), said that if opposition parties are really serious about helping chilli farmers, they should protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi to get a relief package from the Centre.

Prajapati said people who voted for the TRS have not lost their trust in the party as it is undertaking administrative reforms.

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