Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) chief K Kodandaram met Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday at his Delhi residence, to discuss the grand alliance being forged in Telangana ahead of the Legislative Assembly Elections in the state. The meeting lasted for around 40 minutes.
Kodandaram, formerly the head of the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), had played a major role in the struggle for separate statehood. Once close to caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, he is now considered one of his most vocal critics. The TJS chief had landed in New Delhi on Thursday night in a bid to speed up talks of the alliance, which has been dubbed ‘Mahakutami’.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Kodandaram said, “Today, I met with Congress President Rahul Gandhi and spoke with him at length. First thing he said was that we must strive to address the needs and interests of the people in the state. We have also decided to join hands with the Mahakutami only to fulfill the aspirations of the Telangana that we dreamed of and fought for.”
“The Mahakutami will begin its work soon. The Congress leader also assured full cooperation for the same and directed senior leaders to work towards this. We will reach Hyderabad tomorrow morning and meet state leaders of the party and ensure that we get to work immediately,” he added.
Asked about the seat sharing dispute that was going on in the alliance, Kodandaram said, "There was a deadlock regarding the sharing of seats but we did not discuss that over here. We mainly spoke about the need for the alliance and expressed some of our concerns. We also wanted to speed up the entire process."
The senior leader said that the TJS had asked for between 10 to 17 seats out of the 119-member Assembly up for grabs, based on the idea that they could perform well in that many constituencies.
"We have not tied up just for power. We tied up for a cause; that of Telangana and its people. That is our first priority," Kodandaram emphasised.
Asked where he would contest from, he said that he would reveal that decision to the media soon in a matter of few days.
"We will speak properly once the decision is made. We have been working hard on the ground in many places in the state and we are not asking for seats without local cadre or leaders," he said.
The meeting between the two leaders comes a day after Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the party had decided to contest 95 Assembly seats and leave the remaining 24 seats for the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and other constituents of the grand alliance.
Under the seat sharing agreement, the Congress said it plans to allot 14 seats to the TDP while the remaining 10 would go to the Telangana Jana Samithi (TJS) and the Communist Party of India.
Asked about Uttam's statement, Kodandaram said, "I have not seen that and it would not be right to comment on matters before I find out the details."
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters along with the TJS chief, senior Congress leader Madhu Yashki stated that the Chief Minister dissolved the Assembly on September 6 ahead of its term, in an insult to the mandate of the people and also martyrs of the Telangana movement.
The Telangana Assembly Elections are scheduled to be held on December 7. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.