Telangana 2018
Protesting workers said Congress leader Nandikanti Sridhar “worked hard to bring the party back to life" in Malkajgiri constituency, which has 3,79,894 voters.
Images: Mithun MK

An army of Congress workers from the Malkajgiri constituency in Secunderabad staged a protest at the headquarters of the party’s state unit, Gandhi Bhavan, on Friday. Congress leader Nandikanti Sridhar, who is leading the protest, and other cadres are miffed that the Malkajgiri seat is being allotted to Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS).

Trouble was brewing since last week, when reports began doing the rounds that the 'Mahakutami', or the grand alliance, would allot the Malkajgiri seat to the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS), much to the disappointment of Sridhar and his followers.

Protesters outside the Gandhi Bhavan said that they had begun canvassing for Sridhar many days ago and had even done massive work on the ground for the last four years. Sridhar was the Congress' candidate in the 2014 elections but lost to Kanaka Reddy of the TRS.

“After the bifurcation, the party was decimated at the ground level. Sridhar worked really hard to bring the party back to life in the constituency. Now, each meeting of Sridhar draws crowds over 5,000 people,” one party worker at the spot said.

“We don’t expect the party to change their decision, but we want the party to hear what we have to say,” another added.

The dissenting workers also claimed that they were not even aware of the TJS candidate from the constituency, adding that no one had even heard of him.

Meanwhile, a Congress spokesperson said, “We will sit down and talk with party workers. We understand their concerns but there is not much that can be done.”

Malkajgiri, with 3,79,894 voters, is an important constituency, as it borders the Secunderabad Cantonment area.

The Mahakutami consists of the Congress, TJS, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) and reached a consensus on seat sharing on Thursday night. The Congress is expected to contest 93 seats, leaving 14 seats to the TDP, eight seats to the TJS and three seats to CPI.

Telangana is headed to the polls after caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao dissolved the Legislative Assembly on September 6. The Election Commission has said that the last date for filing nominations is November 19. Voting will take place on December 7 and the results will be announced on December 11. The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is also already in place in the state.