TJAC to form political wing in Telangana

Hyderabad: Ending months of speculation and deliberation, the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), which spearheaded the agitation for Telangana’s statehood, has finally decided to form a political wing. The name of TJAC’s political wing will be formally announced by the end of February.

The development adds a new dimension to the multi-cornered fight as the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) will be facing the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) as well. While it is hard to say what kind of impact the TJAC will have on electoral politics, analysts said that it might split the votes of TRS, which came to power on pro-Telangana sentiment in 2014.

“We decided that the TJAC should continue and it must also form a party and all the details haven’t been worked out yet. We are considering different names,” TJAC chairman M. Kodandaram told Mint. The decision came at a meeting held at Yamjal in Ranga Reddy district last week, and attended by about 4,000 TJAC activists.

Though Kodandaram did not mention the names being considered for the new party, another TJAC member, who was unwilling to be identified, said Sakala Janula Samithi (All People’s Party) and Jana Samithi (People’s Organization) were being considered. The TJAC chairman also ruled out any alliances as of now.

The TJAC has been at loggerheads with the ruling TRS since over a year, and has been criticizing the state government over a host of issues, particularly farm distress. Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao, who spearheaded the separate statehood agitation along with Kodandaram, has been miffed with the TJAC and even lashed out against the professor last year at a press conference,saying that “he (Kodandaram) does not have brains” .

“The whole point is that Prof. Kodandaram wants to come to the centre stage. The votes helping TRS are from the pro-Telangana people and the TJAC will definitely split their votes. I am sure there are people who are unhappy with all parties and they support the TJAC,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

Reddy added that even if the TJAC’s party won’t win any seats, he will cut down votes. “This new development won’t benefit the Congress alone and can help anyone, but I have a strong feeling Prof. Kodandaram, who is the face of TJAC and has credibility, will take votes which would otherwise go to the TRS,” he said.

Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) spokesperson M. Krishank said it is important that a united fight is put up against the TRS so that all the anti-incumbency votes are not split. “The TJAC and other organizations should join hands to dethrone the TRS. As of now, it is only the Congress that can take on the ruling party,” he added.

While TRS leaders did not comment on the development, another senior Congress leader said that the new party could also draw dissidents from other parties.livemint