Congress plans to outwit Jaganmohan, TRS prior to voting for Telangana NEW DELHI: The Congress is working on a comprehensive plan to outwit its regional rivals in Andhra Pradesh while readying to concede the long-standing demand for statehood for Telangana region in the state by the end of this month. The party high command is moving ahead to endorse the demand for statehood, a senior Congress leader said, adding that the issue is being addressed in a manner that will help checkmate both Telangana Rashtra Samithi and the YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led YSR Congress that are seen as bigger threats than the traditional rival TDP. The decision, which envisions Hyderabad as the joint capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is likely to be announced after the model code of conduct in place for the panchayat polls is lifted by the end of the month. Congress plans to outwit Jaganmohan, TRS prior to voting for Telangana The Congress brass realises that nothing short of statehood for Telangana will steal the thunder from the rival parties, said the leader, who did not wish to be named. The party is determined to protect its base in that state that has helped catapult the Congress to power at the Centre in two successive general elections, the leader added. The party has fared well over the past two elections in the Telangana region, which accounts for 119 assembly seats and 17 Lok Sabha constituencies of Andhra Pradesh's total 294 assembly seats and 42 Lok Sabha seats. The Congress strategists have been working to woo the Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC), an umbrella organisation of activists, academicians and students, that has been fighting for a separate state for Telangana, a person familiar with the matter said. The TJAC enjoys more credibility in the region than the TRS because the latter has blown hot and cold over the issue as per its political convenience. That the Congress' efforts have started paying off became evident when the TJAC attended a meeting organised by the Congress for the first time in Hyderabad recently. Senior leaders including Digvijaya Singh, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Ahmed Patel have held talks with TJAC chairman M Kodandaram in Delhi, the person said, adding that Congress president Sonia Gandhi might also invite Kodandaram for talks this month. Congress leaders believe TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao will have little choice but to merge his party with the Congress, as he has repeatedly said, after a separate state is carved out for Telangana. The party expects its senior leaders, who had joined the TRS to support its demand, to either pile up pressure on Rao to merge his party with the Congress or return to the parent party in case he chooses to hold out. The Congress is also plotting to contain the influence of YSRC by making a few districts of Rayalseema region, Jaganmohan Reddy's native place, part of the new Telangana state. Since YSRC has never supported the demand for a separate Telangana state, the Congress thinks Reddy will not only have no major influence in the politics of the new state but also will have a diminished appeal in a trimmed Rayalseema region. Even as Reddy might continue to wield influence in the Rayalseema and Andhra regions, the Congress hopes the TDP will emerge as the main rival in the high-stakes contest.