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For a slice of Singareni Collieries pie

For a slice of Singareni Collieries pie
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Elections to Singareni Collieries (SCCL), one of the largest coal companies in the country with a work-force of 55,000, will be held on Thursday....

Elections to Singareni Collieries (SCCL), one of the largest coal companies in the country with a work-force of 55,000, will be held on Thursday. According to available pointers, it is heading to be a showdown between Nari Shakti and a grand alliance, comprising of various opposition parties in the State.

As it is, the elections are being considered both as a prelude to the general elections and more importantly as some sort of acid test for the Telangana Rashtra Samiti. Adding to the no-holds-barred intensity has been the entry of Nizamabad Lok Sabha member Kavitha Kalvakuntla. This is perhaps the first time that a woman is leading her party’s trade union.

Kavitha has an added advantage as most of the coal miners were actively involved in the separate State agitation. It is believed that the outcome of election will be indices to the level of the party’s popularity in Adilabad, Mancherial, Karimnagar, Peddapalli and Bhadadri Kothagudem. Incidentally, TRS has won 12 seats from the SCCL poll-bound districts.

Against this backdrop, the major opposition parties, including Congress, TDP and the Left have formed a grand alliance and hope to defeat the ruling party nominees. The Telangana Boggu Gani Karmika Sangham (TBGKS), the SSCL workers union led by TRS, has taken the line that under previous trade unions, the interests of the workers were compromised.

By insisting that ‘welfare of workers was thrown to winds and there were no housing facilities for retired employees and no preference for dependents in recruitments’, Kavitha is trying drive home the point that it is only TRS that can be trusted upon to deliver on all these counts.
In typical style, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has played his strategic trump card.

He has announced certain decisions with regard to dependent jobs, which is a burning issue during the elections. He made it clear that the stage was set to protect the dependent jobs by changing the nomenclature. His remark that the massive exercise can bear fruit if the opposition parties don’t put spokes was something that expectedly made them threaten to go to court. Unknown, to them, this is precisely what the TRS leadership is trying to exploit to its best advantage.

It now remains to be seen to what extent the workers will believe the opposition campaign that they would honour their promises. The TRS has intensified its campaign by roping in all its MLAs and ministers. The opposition party leaders like TPCC president N Uttam Kumar Reddy and Telangana unit TDP working president allege that the ruling party was luring workers with freebies and by spending huge money to split the opposition parties.

On the other hand, KCR is personally monitoring the campaign, taking feedback from all leaders besides discussing the strategies with Kavitha. The ruling party leaders have been asked to focus on Kothagudem, Illandu, Manuguru and Sattupalli.

While some prominent leaders were appointed as party in charge based on the region, some others were given the responsibility of taking forward ‘Operation Akarsh’ to attract workers of other unions. The party leadership is leaving nothing for the opposition to brag about. Suddenly, the SCCL polls seem like it is a prestige issue where every political party is eyeing the cake.

By V RAMU SARMA

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