HYDERABAD: The Congress is fully prepared to face the Assembly elections, AICC secretary and in-charge of Telangana Congress affairs RC Khuntia has declared. Interacting with the editorial team in ‘Express Chat’ on Friday, Khuntia said that they constituted a five-member committee for consultations with other parties for forging pre-poll alliances. The party’s election campaign committee would be constituted by September 15 and the names of the Assembly candidates would be declared by the end of this month.
Khuntia, who had attended an emergency meeting of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee at Gandhi Bhavan earlier in the day, said that he would head the five-member committee that was formed to hold consultations with other parties. “The PCC chief, working president, opposition leader in the dissolved Assembly and opposition leader in the Council are the other members. We will soon start consultations with other parties.”
Khuntia said that there was need to forge alliances in the state in order to oust the TRS, which failed in the last four years. Asked about several Congress leaders joining the TRS, he said, “Those who are after power are joining the TRS. Those who are fighting against the corrupt rule of the TRS are with the Congress”.
Former Assembly speaker KR Suresh Reddy joined the TRS for selfish reasons. “If one or two leaders desert the Congress, there will be no impact on the party. The Congress is still strong in Nizamabad district,” the AICC leader claimed. When asked whether he thought that the TRS ‘’purchased’’ Suresh Reddy, he replied in the negative but added: "He must have been promised something. But I would not say he was purchased.’’ In the week to come, leaders of other parties would be joining the Congress, he said.
About the criticism by TRS that there were 12 chief ministerial candidates in the Congress, Khuntia shot back: “Who will be the chief ministerial candidate in TRS after the Assembly elections, KTR or Kavitha, if KCR floats the Federal Front?”
MIM and BJP are BFF?
Although many might consider Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen (AIMIM) to be antithesis of each other, the two political parties have been often accused of working for each other’s mutual political benefit by the Congress. On Friday again, RC Khuntia levelled the same allegation. He even said that AIMIM was interested in its own progress rather than the progress of the Muslim community.
Khuntia alleged that AIMIM fielded candidates in the Maharashtra, UP and Bihar Assembly elections in order to divide minority votes, which would otherwise have gone to Congress, in turn benefiting the BJP candidates. He alleged that the secret pact helps AIMIM too, as it guarantees no electoral troubles by the BJP in AIMIM dominated areas of Hyderabad. Khuntia said this while interacting with the editorial team of TNIE as part of Express Chat.
It may be recalled that the first such accusation came forward in 2016, when Yatin Oza, a former BJP MLA, accused BJP and AIMIM of having a secret pact in Bihar elections.