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TRS ready for opposition onslaught

TRS ready for opposition onslaught
Highlights

The TRS seems to be adopting a three-pronged strategy to subdue all potential vociferous attacks by the opposition having, more or less, decided to...

The TRS seems to be adopting a three-pronged strategy to subdue all potential vociferous attacks by the opposition having, more or less, decided to take the bull by its horns. As things stand, the T Congress is upping the ante by actually bringing to town its most influential leader, Sonia Gandhi, to address rallies.

It will be squared-off with another public meeting in a different corner of the State by AICC Vice-President Rahul Gandhi. It is ditto with the TTDP, which is drawing up plans to hold meetings in the interiors, albeit in smaller proportions. Cashing in on the season of public meetings, the CPI (M) is set to hold a huge public gathering in Hyderabad on March 19.

The rhapsody will see the convergence of leaders belonging to the Left parties and organisations representing Dalits, tribals and other weaker sections, who are expected to go full-throttle against the ‘anti-peoples’ policies being pursued by the TRS government.

Given the precarious situation and with the ‘battle-ready’ opposition sharpening its knives, the TRS has formulated its own game-plan to stymie any possible adverse impacts. It feels that it should utilise the ensuing Assembly session to highlight its achievements and steal the thunder from under the nose of the opposition benches.

That apart it would be announcing several new schemes for various sections in the budget. The ruling party feels that it should seize the opportunity and derive optimal benefits from the fortnight-long session. This would be followed by a bus yatra, which the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao proposes to undertake sometime in June.

He would personally interact with the people in rural areas and hold road shows to explain what the government had done in last three years and reiterate his avowed commitment to safeguard their well-being. In addition to this, the party is also proposing to shortly launch another round of the well-received Operation Akarsh. The game-plan has been drawn in such a way that the target of attacks would be the second rung district-level leaders from Congress and TDP.

The party, according to insiders, has identified certain constituencies where it needs to strengthen its base, particularly where its popularity is eroding. What is worrisome for the party leadership is the finding that candidates in about 50 constituencies where they romped home in 2014 on the strength of TRS wave have done precious little to either consolidate their position or emerge as winnable candidates.

Nor have they grown in stature. Stung by this realistic ground-level thunderbolt, the party leadership is racing against time to prop up strong leaders, who can strengthen the party prospects when they go in for elections, two years down the line. The Chief Minister, K Chandrashekar Rao, who is also the undisputed party boss, is said to be assessing various factors that could turn TRS fortunes.

A detailed study on the caste composition, the strength of opposition parties and local issues that need to be addressed on a priority basis are being studied minutely. It is said that the task of preparing an ‘as is where is’ basis report in such vulnerable constituencies has been entrusted to select party veterans. The battle-scarred stalwarts have ostensibly been given a more critical assignment, that of identifying second rung leaders from opposition parties, who command huge following and see if they could be won over prior to the hustings.

The ruling party leaders are aware that political equations are fast changing and that there was a need to take immediate steps to ensure that it would be in the driver’s seat all over again in 2019. It feels that greater focus needs to be laid on south Telangana, particularly in Ranga Reddy, Hyderabad, Nalgonda and Mahaboobnagar districts.

For instance, in the old Nalgonda district, the party won half of the dozen seats that were up for grabs. Now, the party feels that it needs to strengthen its base in at least three more constituencies. In Mahaboobnagar district, TRS won seven of 14 seats. Here too it has to concentrate on about two or three seats. The leadership is of the strong opinion that if there are clear indications that the sitting candidates cannot score an encore then it should not hesitate to win over some senior leaders from the opposition parties to retain its hold in the next elections.

It is believed that a senior Congress leader, who is now an important policy-maker in TRS, has been providing necessary updates about political developments at the constituency level. He is also said to be in close contact with the district leaders of opposition parties. If the ‘poaching’ exercise takes concrete shape, then we are close to witnessing a fresh round of migrations from Congress and TDP into TRS. The projected deadline for the operation to gather steam is tentatively the coming Independence Day.

By V RAMU SARMA

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