Warangal: Congress in 'to be or not to be' dilemma!

Warangal: Similar to that of opening phrase of Hamlets soliloquy in Shakespeare's play where the prince finds himself in dilemma "To be or not to be", the situation for the Congress candidate isn't much different in the by-election to Legislative Council seat under Local Authorities' Constituency whether to 'exist in the fray or not'.

With the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) moving its pawns quickly by bringing a majority of electorate that elect the MLC into its fold by pressing in camp politics, the options left for the Congress candidate Engala Venkat Ram Reddy appear to be a mirage. The way the TRS had handled the situation so far gives a very little scope for the Congress to improve its tally of electorate.

"Truly speaking, the Congress is clueless about the number of electorates that it has in the erstwhile Warangal district. Since TRS came to power in 2014, the exodus of zilla parishad territorial constituency (ZPTC) and mandal parishad territorial constituency (MPTC) members, councillors and corporators from the Congress was unabated," a senior Congress leader told The Hans India, on condition of anonymity.

According to a conservative estimate, the Congress candidate can command the support of around 170 members, Congress sources say. On the other hand, the TRS leadership is claiming the support of close to 700 including ex-officio members, while the others form around 50.

"Even though it has more than enough numbers, the TRS leadership ensured no one from its camp would hop to other side," a senior leader said, referring to the camp politics. It may be noted here that TRS leadership had already organising a camp in Hyderabad with its electorate. Even though the party says it as an excursion, it can easily be understood as for obvious reasons.

Meanwhile, 13 independent candidates, who were in the race for the Council seat ,had withdrew their nominations on Thursday. It may be recalled here that 19 candidates remained in the fray after the scrutiny on May 15. This leaves TRS candidate Pochampally Srinivas Reddy, Congress' Engala Venkat Ram Reddy and four other independent candidates in the fray for the Council seat.

Against this backdrop, the rumour mills have started working overtime that efforts are on to woo the other independent candidates to withdraw from the contest leaving the arena open for TRS and Congress. Going overboard, the rumour mills also started to spread news that there is a possibility of Congress withdrawing from the contest. Some senior Congress leaders also expressed doubts over the inactivity in the party even two days after filing of nomination papers by their candidate.

"Anything can happen on Friday (May 17), the last day of withdrawals. Right from the issuance of notification, the Congress has been objecting to the timing of Council by-election. Even the TPCC

president said to move to court to stall the election. Even as token of protest, we may abstain from the election," another Congress leader said. The TRS is playing a sort of mind game to demoralise the Congress, he added.

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