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Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samiti to merge?

Last updated on: March 22, 2011 14:18 IST

Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samiti to merge?

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Vicky Nanjappa

Is a merger of the Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samiti on the cards? At least the buzz around Hyderabad points to this direction.

Interestingly both parties in question are in denial mode, but reliable sources say that the offer to merge was made by the Congress.

Political observers in Andhra Pradesh have been pointing out that of late the Congress has found itself in one of the worst possible position in the state -- from being invincible five years ago to the shaky ground it stands on today.

The death of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, the dissidence from his son Jagan Mohan Reddy and now the Telangana crisis, the Congress has a host of problems on hand.

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Image: TRS supremo K Chandrasekara Rao

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KCR flip-flop

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The news regarding the Telangana-Congress merger emerged when TRS supremo K Chandrasekara Rao made a mention about this during an internal party meeting. He is said to have told his party workers that the Congress is looking for a merger.

However, he came out of that meeting and denied that any such statement was made.

Interestingly, this denial comes in the wake of KCR issuing a statement a couple of days back when he had said that he was ready to merge with the Congress if it meant that the people would get a separate Telangana state.

Party general secretary Subhash Reddy, who was also present at the meeting, too denied any such development.

He made it clear that that TRS will win 53 per cent of the votes in the Telangana region and when this being the case, why would they even want a merger.



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Congress is showing signs of desperation

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The Congress, on the other hand, is showing signs of desperation. They have already lost quite a lot of their vote share to Jagan whose popularity appears to be increasing in the Rayalseema-Andhra belts.

Telangana is the last bet for the Congress. If they hand over Telangana, then their vote share is expected to dip even further in the Rayalseema-Andhra belts who are seeking for a united Andhra.



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What the Congress stands to gain

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The Congress does realise that it needs to stay in the game and hence a merger with the TRS would be the safest bet for them to retain some standing in that area.

Sources point out that the Congress was working out such a solution. If there is a merger then the existence of the TRS would come to an end and it would just be the Congress fighting the polls in the Telangana region.

However, the TRS would need much more convincing if it has to agree to any such proposal. The TRS obviously finds itself in a commanding position in Telangana and is well aware that the Congress will be the pleader over here.



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'Whether they give or not give Telangana, Cong position is still weak'

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The Congress does not find itself in the best of positions, Reddy admits.

"Whether they give or not give Telangana, their position is still weak. I, however, feel that they would do better and take a sympathy vote in some corners if they hand over the state at the end of it. There is no question of any merger with the Congress, but I would add that the Congress could be a friendly party for the TRS in case our main demand is met," he said.

A source in the Congress adds that they will have to work on crucial alliance if they have to do well in the next elections.

There is too much on hand at the moment and the party is working over time to resolve this.



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Some Congressmen favour merger not coalition

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A proposal to merge with the TRS has also been discussed in some circles. However, some leaders have not been discussing this merger in terms of a coalition, but they would want the TRS to completely merge into the Congress.

Meanwhile, the Telugu Desam Party, which finds itself in doldrums, has stepped up the ante on this issue. They realise that their approach has not been strong enough and are consistently losing face in front of their voters in the Telangana region.

TDP leaders from the Telangana region are in New Delhi on Tuesday where they will meet with President Pratibha Patil and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and put forth their demands.



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