Parikshit Luthra,CNN-IBN | Feb 24, 2014 at 01:53pm IST
”Larger section wants to retain its identity. A strong TRS is good for the interests of the state. Larger opinion is veering towards the party retaining its position as an independent identity”
New Delhi: The Congress and the TRS merger may not happen in Telangana as both the parties are having a second thought after the local leaders expressed fears that it will cede the opposition space to BJP and TDP in the new state. The parties are likely to go for a seat sharing in the elections. TRS chief K Chandrashekhara Rao’s son and MLA KT Rama Rao said that a large section in the party was opposing the merger and they favour a pre-poll alliance with the Congress.
TRS Chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, KT Rama Rao, party member Jagadish Reddy met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Monday. Congress’s Andhra Pradesh in-charge Digvijaya Singh was also present during the meeting. Sources said the Congress is looking for a merger with the TRS, but the party is not willing to merge. The TRS wants to retain a larger chunk of seats for itself.
Sources said the TRS feels a merger is not going to help either the Congress or TRS. A merger means the TRS could lose the edge it has got after the formation of Telangana. Anti- incumbency was believed to hurt the Congress in the elections.
Here is an excerpt from the interview:
CNN-IBN: You earlier were open to a merger, why a change of stand?
KT Rama Rao: At this juncture some issues need to be sorted out. TRS has a record of sending a lot of people to the Assembly and Lok Sabha. So we have to consider feelings of everyone.
CNN-IBN: Large section of the TRS doesn’t want a merger?
KT Rama Rao: Larger section wants to retain its identity. A strong TRS is good for the interests of the state. Larger opinion is veering towards the party retaining its position as an independent identity.
CNN-IBN: Have you said that if the Congress backs for the post of Chief Minister, they can get a chunk of the seats?
KT Rama Rao: We haven’t said anything like that.
CNN-IBN: When can we expect a final decision?
KT Rama Rao: I think election notification will be out in the first week of March. I think a decision will be made by then.