‘BJP, Congress trying to get associated with YSRTP as it would emerge the kingmaker’
Though it has been only two years since the YSR Telangana Party was founded in Telangana, a state which was carved out of Andhra Pradesh nine years back, the party, led by Y.S. Sharmila, has been making headlines for its agitational approach against the ruling KCR government and trying to carve a niche for itself.
According to a senior party functionary, the party is gearing itself to contest at least 118 out of 119 seats of the state Assembly. ‘’We are ready to fight on 118 seats in the forthcoming Assembly elections. We have the strength of the legacy of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Our one and only agenda is to bring back the legacy of former Chief Minister Late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s government in the state,’’ party spokesperson Neelam Ramesh told The Sunday Guardian.
He said that during the padyatra undertaken by party president Y.S. Sharmila, people had expressed their anger towards the rule of KCR government.
‘’Our leader Y.S. Sharmila undetook padyatra covering 3,800 km of the state. We were attacked by the BRS government because it got scared of us. The padyatra was stopped, we approached court and on court order, we started the padyatra again. There was TSPSC examination paper leak and no Opposition party raised their voice. We did despite facing the wrath of the government,’’ Ramesh said.
He claimed that both BJP and the Congress are trying to get associated with the party as it has the strength and it would emerge as the kingmaker post Assembly elections.
However, another senior party leader, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that the party is still not a force in the state and it has failed to fill the vacuum created after the demise of Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. ‘’The party is not so strong in Telangana. The party has still not decided whether it will merge with the Congress or it will have an alliance with it. The padyatra taken out by the Party President did not fetch expected results. It turned out to be negative. There were workers in the field when Late Rajashekhar Reddy was the leader but now the party has been formed after a gap of 11 years. We should have done a survey of ground reports but we did not do that and directly went out on Padyatra. This did not work. The result came out zero,’’ he said.
The party leader further said, ‘’The problem is that we do not have leaders. Elections are just a few months away. Those who are serious contenders, they are in the field. Whether it’s Congress, BJP, BRS or BSP, all are in the field except our party. We have remained just a question mark. We do not have leaders,’’ he said.
The party functionary said the anti-incumbency wave against the K. Chandrashekar Rao government is such that a little effort by the Opposition parties will be able to overthrow it.
‘’BJP is strong in 15-20 constituencies. Congress too is strong in around 19 constituencies. There is a very strong anti-incumbency wave against the BRS government as many of its MLAs are contesting the elections for the third or fourth time. If BJP gets people’s support where it is strong and the same happens with the Congress, then BRS will easily be at the third place. There is 60-70 per cent anti-incumbency against the BRS in many constituencies and it would be very difficult for the ruling party to get a majority mark. People want change now. It would not be an easy game for KCR who is seeking to become chief minister for the third time,’’ he said.
He accepted that there is a problem of acceptance of leadership in the state. ‘’Local leaders should be groomed and given a chance to lead the party. Leadership should be from Telangana. People of Telangana will not accept someone who is from Andhra. Even Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy (Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister) too will have to give leadership to local people if he plans to expand the base of the party in the neighbouring state. People will accept only local leaders, not someone who has come from outside. People of Telangana have sacrificed a lot for the formation of the state. Contesting Lok Sabha elections from any other state is a different thing, but that does not work in case of Assembly elections,’’ he said.
However, party spokesperson Neelam Ramesh strongly refuted the claim of non-acceptance of the party leadership in the state.
‘’BRS is going to Maharashtra and Odisha. Are they local there? They are not. Then why are they going? Can they say Jai Telangana in Maharashtra? No. BRS is aiming to be a national party now and therefore has set a different agenda. We are the regional party who espouses the cause of the state more than anybody else,’’ he said. ‘’We are very firm in our statement that we are going to be the kingmaker after the Assembly elections,’’ he said.