CPI(M) calls off alliance with Congress, releases list of 17 seats for Telangana polls

CPI(M) leaders said that if the CPI is willing, they will contest the polls together, as the Congress failed to allot them two seats that they wanted.
CPI(M) flags
CPI(M) flags
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The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI(M)) on Thursday, November 2 finally decided to call off its proposed alliance with the Congress and announced a list of 17 constituencies it will contest from in the November 30 Telangana Assembly elections. The decision comes after the Congress failed to give the CPI(M) two seats out of a list of five that it had suggested. With nominations for the polls beginning on November 3, the Congress still has to announce another 19 candidates. Moreover, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is also in a similar quandary, but has still not taken a formal decision. CPI(M) leaders said that if the CPI is willing, they will contest the polls together.

“It seems that the Congress is not serious about the alliance. Two days ago they asked us to wait, we were supposed to be informed by today. We released the names of 17 seats the party will contest, names will be announced later. We may still announce a few more seats. If the CPI decides to form an alliance with us, we will go with them,” said Narsingh Rao, senior CPI(M) leader from Telangana.

The seats the CPI(M) will contest from are: Bhadrachalam (ST), Aswaraopet, Palair, Madhira (SC), Wyra (ST), Khamma, Sathupalli (SC), Miryalaguda, Nalgonda, Nakrekal (SC), Bhuvanagiri, Huzurnagar, Kodad, Janagaon, Ibrahimpatnam, Patancheru, and Musheerabad.

The five seats that the CPI(M) asked the Congress to choose from are: Bhadrachalam, Miryalaguda, Madhira, Palair, and Husnabad. Of these, the Congress has already nominated Podem Veeraiah for Bhadrachalam, sitting party MLA Bhatti Vikramarka Mallu for Madhira, ex-Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) leader Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy – who recently joined the Congress – for Palair, and senior leader and ex-MP Ponnam Prabhakar for Husnabad. Congress did not want to give up Miryalaguda to CPI(M) either.

Though the Congress is seemingly on revival mode this time around, the CPI(M) and CPI both have small but crucial vote shares in certain constituencies that could affect the outcome.

The CPI(M) had asked the Congress specifically for the Bhadrachalam (ST) constituency, which it continuously won from 1978 to 2004. The CPI(M) lost the seat to the Congress in the 2009 Assembly polls and won it again in 2014, with Sunnam Rajaiah being the only MLA from any Left party to be elected to the state legislature then. The Congress won the seat in the 2018 Assembly elections, which is why it was adamant not to part with it.

The Congress has declared candidates for 100 out of the 119 Assembly seats, with all of its veteran leaders and other ex-BRS leaders – like Ponguleti Srinivas Reddy who recently joined – getting seats. Ex-Munugode MLA Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy, who had quit the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) last year, also returned and has been given the ticket for Munugode.

The Congress reportedly offered a seat in Hyderabad Old City to the CPI(M), which it rejected as it will be a tough fight against the Asaduddin Owaisi-led All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM). The AIMIM has been winning the Charminar, Bahadurpura, Nampally, Malakpet, Chandrayangutta, Yakutpura, and Bahadurpura seats in the Old City since 2009.

In the 2018 state elections, the ruling BRS won 88 out of 119 seats, demolishing the opposition. The Congress had formed an alliance with the Telugu Desam Party and other organisations then. However, both could only win 19 and two seats respectively, while the Left parties drew a blank.

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