T-movement 60 Years Old. Hence, the Division: Sonia - The New Indian Express

T-movement 60 Years Old. Hence, the Division: Sonia

Published: 03rd May 2014 08:46 AM

Last Updated: 03rd May 2014 09:06 AM

Unlike the TDP and the YSRC, the AICC chief Sonia Gandhi has not indulged in blame game for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh while addressing her maiden public meeting in Seemandhra post-division on Friday. Moreover, she has humbly tried to take the responsibility for the Centre’s decision.

In her rally held at the Andhra Muslim College here, the AICC supremo tried to defend her decision to bifurcate Andhra  Pradesh, saying, “You all know the fact that Telangana movement was 60 years old. That is why we took this difficult decision after a lot of brainstorming.”

Hitting out at the opposition for picking holes in the decision on Telangana, the UPA chairperson said the Congress decided to divide AP only after all other political parties, except the CPM, had demanded the same. 

Though her speech was not inspiring and she failed to make any new promise to the Seemandhra people  on reconstruction of their new state, she made all-out attempts to placate them, saying, “For the first time in the history of the country we have tried to safeguard the interests of the people of a residuary state (Seemandhra) during reorganisation. We have accorded special status to Semandhra for its over-all development.”

Sonia said she had concern for Seemandhra development and assured that she would take care of its people. “I am aware of your feelings and concerns due to bifurcation. But Telangana was a long-pending promise and it had to be fulfilled.”

She also listed out the central government educational institutions and a railway zone that were promised to Seemandhra besides helping the new state develop its cities like Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Kurnool, Nellore, Kakinada and Rajahmundry compete with Hyderabad.

Local Congress leaders mobilised a fairly good number of Muslims and Kapus for the meeting which was organised in the Muslim-dominated Guntur-1 town.

Seeing a good number of Muslims in the crowd, the UPA chairperson tried to win them over by using the social justice card.

“The Congress is the only party committed to the cause of social justice as it believes that the keys of political power must be with the weaker sections of society like SCs, tribals, BCs, minorities and women who have been, for long, deprived and neglected.”

Later, she assured Kapus and Balijas of inclusion among BCs if the Congress retained power. Her promise was cheered by  Union minister K Chiranjeevi and former minister Kanna Lakshminarayana, who were on the dais, and by the crowd as well.

Turning her attack on the TDP-BJP combine, Sonia said, “TDP and BJP are the two sides of the same coin. Both are old friends. The TDP had not left the BJP even at the time of horrific happenings in Godhra in 2002. Many parties walked away from the NDA but not the TDP. A vote for the TDP-BJP combine will be a vote for communal forces. A vote for the Congress will be for a new and resurgent Seemandhra and for a secular government,” she said.

Sonia Gandhi claimed that the Congress was the only party that always stood for secular values and principles and never compromised with communal forces. “It is these very values and principles that kept our country together and for these values and principles Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi became martyrs.”

Not giving any concession to the YSRC, Sonia fired a broadside at the fledgling party, saying, “YSRC is exploiting the name of the late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy who was a valued and loyal member of our party. The Congress had given him an opportunity to serve the people and he worked hard and implemented the policies of the party. People who exploit his name choose to ignore the fact that YSR had dedicated his entire career to the Congress.”

Union ministers Chiranjeevi, Kanna Lakshminarayana, JD Seelam and Panabaka Lakshmi, and APCC chief N Raghuveera Reddy were present.

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