The recent spat between information and public relations minister DK Aruna and Nagarkurnool MP Manda Jagannadham has brought the squabbles among senior Congress leaders back into focus. Party leaders are trying to asses the damage that internal sabotage caused to party’s prospects in the latest byelections.
A postmortem of Congress electoral debacle will be held on Thursday at Gandhi Bhavan here. Along with chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana will hold a review with all the Congress coordinators who oversaw the electioneering in various segments.
Kiran Reddy and Botcha will also hold separate meetings with local leaders of various districts, where bypolls were held, to understand the reasons for the poor show. This exercise will be continued till the end of this month.
The ruling Congress has been suffering from infighting among seniors leaders in several districts for many years. Be it Seemandhra or Telangana, in every region Congress leaders are trying one-upmanship, unmindful of the damage they are causing to the party.
A typical case is Anantapur district where revenue minister N Raghuveera Reddy and primary education minister S Sailajanath are at loggerheads with former minister JC Diwakar Reddy. Party second-rung leaders attribute the electoral drubbing received by the Congress in the district to the squabbles between the groups led by Raghuveera and Diwakar Reddy.
Similar is the situation in Guntur district, with agriculture minister Kanna Lakshminarayana and Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao at daggers drawn with each other. Several leaders in the party feel that apart from sympathy for Jagan Mohan Reddy, the differences between Rayapati and Kanna contributed to the Congress defeat in Prathipadu and Macherla segments in this district.
According to party leaders, the humiliating defeat in Polavaram Assembly segment (ST reserved) in West Godavari district is also due to infighting. It is a well-known fact that Eluru MP Kavuri Sambasiva Rao and DCCB chairman Karatam Rambabu who enjoys clout in tribal areas do not see eye to eye.
When the AICC leadership announced Nupa Parvathi as the Congress candidate from Polavaram as per the recommendation of Kavuri, Rambabu opposed her candidature openly and remained non-cooperative during the campaign.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy’s home district Chittoor, where the Congress lost Tirupati seat in the bypolls, is also not free of the problem. In Kadapa district, Congress seniors are crossing swords with each other constantly. The differences between health minister DL Ravindra Reddy, minorities minister Ahmadullah and endowments minister C Ramachandraiah are common knowledge.