On a day when TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao met president Pranab Mukherjee and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to thank them for the decision to create Telangana, behaving much like an un-anointed Chief Minister of the about-to-be-created state, the Congress top brass spent time mulling over two crucial issues: whether to impose the President’s rule in Andhra Pradesh in the run-up to the bifurcation and whether to defer the Assembly elections by three months.
On both the issues the political leadership seemed to be in two minds till late on Monday. While Election Commission sources said the date of the Assembly polls would depend on the actual date of bifurcation, the Congress hinted that it might be delayed farther than the Parliamentary polls.
On who would run the administration in the meantime, the party high command was undecided. Andhra Pradesh can either be placed under the President’s rule or run by a care-taker government under a political dispensation.
Citing Kiran Kumar Reddy’s resignation as the chief minister, Congress general secretary Digivijay Singh indicated that the party was yet to take a call as discussions with its state leaders were still going on.
Digivijay said he would meet Seemandhra leaders on Tuesday.
However, he added that the “schedule for the general elections is likely to be announced in the first week of March. Whether the new Chief Minister will be able to take any decision within a short span of time is still a question”. In other words, the President’s rule is the most likely option.
On the Congress-TRS merger, Digvijay said KCR and he had held preliminary discussions on the issue. He said it was the TRS leader who had promised to merge his party with the Congress once the Telangana Bill was passed in Parliament.
“It is up to him to deliver on that now. We are still having consultations,” he added. According to sources, KCR proposed a conditional merger and wanted the Congress to accommodate senior TRS leaders in important posts. Though the possibility of simultaneous elections to the Assembly and Lok Sabha seemed slim, the TRS leadership wanted to seal the deal before the elections.
The TRS wants the top job in the state to be handed over to KCR. While KCR’s focus is on the Assembly elections in Telangana, the Congress high command is currently focused on getting the Lok Sabha seats stitched up first.
Sensing an opportunity of hard bargain with the Congress over its desperation to get as many winning Lok Sabha seats as possible, KCR is set to cut a deal.