Bypoll pits pro-Telangana allies against each other

The by-election to the Parkal Assembly constituency in Warangal district is once again threatening to split the Telangana State movement vertically, as two parties in support of the same movement — Telangana Rashtra Samiti and BJP — have decided to field their separate candidates.

The seat fell vacant as sitting Congress MLA Konda Surekha was disqualified from the Assembly for supporting Jaganmohan Reddy’s YSR-Congress, in violation of the party whip.

Even as Surekha is trying to garner people’s support by projecting herself as pro-Telangana, both TRS and BJP are also making a determined bid to wrest the seat.

However, it has created a serious problem for the Telangana Joint Action Committee on whom to support. A similar situation in Mahbubnagar district recently had created a similar predicament for the TJAC.

In the close fight between TRS and BJP, TJAC had adopted a neutral stand and BJP wrested the seat. It has not only left TRS leaders unhappy with TJAC chairman Professor Kodanda Ram, but has also turned the Muslim minority against the TJAC as they blamed it for the defeat of TRS’ Muslim candidate, Mohammed Ibraheem.

During a recent tour of Telangana, Ram had to face angry protests at several places from the minority community, which blamed him as well as TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao for the defeat of Mohammed Ibraheem and victory of the BJP.

Now, the TRS is exerting some serious pressure on the TJAC to declare support for its candidate in Parkal, where the party was yet to choose its man.

According to sources, TJAC is in a quandary. While one group wants the TJAC to support TRS, as it is with the TJAC from the beginning and was instrumental in bringing the Telangana movement to this stage, another group wants to support the BJP, as it also needs the support of a national party.

However, the TRS has warned that if the BJP wins Parkal, it will completely drive away the Muslim minority from the Telangana movement as they will see it as a warning signal that the BJP will emerge stronger in a separate Telangana State.