With the Andhra Pradesh-based Jena Sena party (JSP) entering the election ring in Telangana, the number of political parties contesting elections is swelling. Thus, the election contest is now not just between Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Congress-led alliance Telangana Parirakshana Vedika. Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP), Aam Admi Party (AAP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) are also in the fray contesting all 119 assembly seats.
On Saturday, while inaugurating the Jana Sena party office in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh JSP party chief and film actor Pawan Kalyan announced the partyâs intention to contest in 24 seats in Telangana. There are now as many as nine political parties vying for power in the upcoming state elections scheduled to take place on December 7. Here is a look at the political parties contesting the elections in Telangana.
Primary contenders: TRS, Mahakutami
The primary contenders for this election remain to be the caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS party and the 'Mahakutami' or 'Grand Alliance', which comprises of the Telangana Congress, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India (CPI).
After dissolving the Telangana assembly on September 6, the TRS released a list of 105 candidates for the 119 assembly constituencies. But the parties forming the Telangana Parirakshana Vedika are yet to decide the seat shares and also come up with a candidate list.
TRS leaders likely to join us: AAP
The Telangana unit of AAP also made their intentions clear to contest in all the 119 assembly seats in the upcoming state elections. âWe are currently inviting candidate applications and we will give seats to those who deserve,â said Ramu Goud, state convener, AAP.
The party, however, feels their election campaign and the issues they are raising are not being highlighted by the state media. âEach political party has their own TV channel or newspaper; we don't own anything. Hence, very little effort is being taken to show our election efforts,â he added.
Ever since the TRS candidate list was released on September 6 there has been a dissent within party ranks. Some of these dissenters have already jumped ship to join rival camps. A few have moved from the opposition parties to TRS as well.
âA lot of TRS leaders are expressing interest in joining the AAP as they have been denied a ticket to contest the elections. We are reviewing each of these requests and will take a final call on October 15 when we release our election manifesto and the first list of candidates for the elections,â said Goud.
Banking on SC and ST votes: BSP
The BSP also plans to contest in the 119 seats across Telangana and are banking on the SC and ST votes that form over 24.5% of voter share in the state. In the 2014 elections, the party contested in two seats - Nirmal and Sirpur Kagaznagar Assembly constituencies in Adilabad district - and won both. However, the legislators switched to TRS post the election results.
âWe are contesting in all the 119 seats this time and hope to the win more seats,â said Balaiah, state president for the BSP. When asked if the party has decided on their candidate list and if more TRS members are likely to join the party, Balaiah replied, âWe can tell only when the time is right,â he added
Supporting TJS party: Swaraj Abhiyan
The Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan-led Swaraj Abhiyan is not contesting any seats in Telangana but have thrown their weight behind Telangana Jana Samithi in Telangana. âSince Swaraj Abhiyan and TJS share similar views, we decided to work with them. We have not launched formally in Telangana, but will be working full time with the TJS until the 2019 Lok Sabha elections,â said Seshagiri N, State General Secretary, Swaraj Abhiyan.
The party had decided not to contest in Telangana as they do not have sufficient party strength at ground level. âAt present, we don't have sufficient numbers and it will not be viable to contest unless we offer something tailor-made to the region, â he added.
âLooking for acceptable candidatesâ: BJP
The BJP is also a serious contender in Telangana. Speaking to TNM, the BJPs manifesto committee chairman NVSS Prabhakar said his party is in the process of candidate selection for the 119 assembly seats. âWe get candidate applications every day and we are scrutinising and shortlisting the applicants. We will be contesting in all the seats and are looking for acceptable candidates who are leaders among the public itself.â