Political parties in the state have begun to gear up for local body polls, following the Supreme Court’s directive to the state government to hold the elections.
Ruling Congress, main opposition TDP, YSRC and TRS feel the polls to local bodies will help them know their strength in the run-up to 2014 elections. They see an opportunity to make a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis to work out their strategies for the 2014 polls.
Leaders of these parties say the polls are like semifinals for the general elections. Welcoming the verdict of the apex court, Union minister for tribal welfare V Kishore Chandra Deo said that Central funds to the tune of `2,400 crore had not been released to the state for the development of rural areas because of non-holding of polls to local bodies till now.
“With the Supreme Court’s directive, decks have been cleared now for the polls. We will release the funds pending with our ministry to the state soon after the polls,” he added.
He said he did not think local body polls alone would decide the fortunes of the Congress in the state. However, he exuded confidence that the ruling party would fare well in 2014 polls irrespective of its performance in the local elections.
Rajya Sabha member V Hanumantha Rao urged the state government to conduct the local body polls on party basis.
“Our government should treat these polls as semifinals in the run-up to 2014 polls. The results of these polls will show the strength of various parties at the grassroot level and help us make course correction,” he said.
Some Congress leaders say though the ruling party has swept the just-held cooperative polls, these results could not be considered as popular mandate.
“It is common that the ruling party wins a majority of the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) in every cooperative polls as farmers need the helping hand of the government. However, the elections to local bodies will, to an extent, reflect the mood of the people. So, these polls will show our real strength,” said a senior Congress leader.
Some other Congress leaders feel the local body polls would expose the ‘snakes in the grass’ in their party, who are covertly working for YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
YSRC official spokesperson Gattu Ramachandra Rao too wanted the government to hold these elections on party symbols.
Exuding confidence that the YSRC would sweep the polls across the state, Rao said the state could not get `4,000 crore from the Centre because of non-holding of polls to local bodies within time.
“The polls to local bodies would be another opportunity for the people of Telangana to convey their aspirations to the Centre. The TRS would sweep the polls in the Telangana region,” said TRS MLA T Rajaiah. TDP MLC YB Rajendra Prasad felt that his party would emerge victorious in the polls across the state.