All eyes are set on Y.S. Vijayamma and Sharmila Reddy’s campaign visit to Parkal on Friday where they are expected to canvass votes for YSRC candidate Konda Surekha. Parkal, the hotbed of the Telangana movement, is going to see the family members of YSR for the first time after his demise in 2009. Attempts to reach out to the people by Jagan Mohan Reddy in May, 2010 failed due to serious law and order problems in Mahabubabad on account of his pro-United AP stand.
Pro-Telangana parties and students of the Osmania and Kakatiya University JAC has been demanding that Vijayamma spell out her party’s stand on statehood for Telangana and tender an open apology for the incidents in Mahabubabad in May 2010 when students were stoned and lathicharged. They are also demanding an explanation for the silence by the YSRC party all these months without making any statement supporting the over 600 suicides by young supporters of Telangana.
According to internal assessments by political parties, TRS seems to have established a clear lead in Parkal followed by Ms. Surekha, the BJP, Congress and the TD. Of the 17 other by-polls being held in coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema, the lone by-poll in the Telangana region is dominated by the Telangana issue. While key leaders of the Congress, TD and YSRC have toured all the segments more than twice, in Parkal, the campaign has by and large been confined to Telangana leaders, with several Congress leaders even keeping off the campaign following the party’s non-committal stand on the Telangana issue.
Opinion is divided on how the TRS or YSRC or BJP will be helped by other political parties like Congress and TD who have come to the conclusion that they are out of the running in Parkal. Interestingly, the TD does not want TRS to win in Parkal as they fear an exodus from the party to TRS after the by-polls. In such a scenario, it remains to be seen who the TD cadres will extend cooperation to, the BJP or the YSRC.
Some Congress party cadres want TRS to win in Parkal as they hope that the Congress high command will announce ‘some favourable’ decision on Telangana. If the TRS loses, they feel that Telangana will not become a state. Some Congress leaders have decided to quit if the high command does not concede statehood for Telangana. At the same time they do not want to join the TRS and hope Ms. Surekha wins so that YSRC will register its identity in Telangana which is then likely to bring about political changes.