CHENNAI: The Congress continued shadow-boxing even after eight months of its electoral debacle, appearing sorry that it had divided Andhra Pradesh but not coming forward to admit it openly for fear of political backlash in Telangana.
Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh, after the two day state level brain storming session in Vijayawada, said on Saturday: "We were the last to put our signature on the proposal for dividing the state. And yet the Congress was seen as a devil. People's anger showed in their verdict. We neither have a single member in the Assembly nor a single member in Lok Sabha from AP."
Digvijaya Singh sounded apologetic for dividing the state but was not forthcoming to admit it. He recalled how the Congress, in the initial days of Telangana movement, had remained opposed to bifurcation of the state. "Only in 2014, we took the decision and we were the last to put signature on the proposal for division of the state," he said. By saying so, he appeared as though he was betraying a feeling of guilt for dividing the state. This became more apparent when he tried to shift the blame of division to other parties.
In his attack on Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu too, Digvijaya Singh pointed out at his double speak in such way that it implied that Naidu was doing what the Congress could not do. "In Telangana, Naidu is saying that because of his signature only that Telangana became a reality. It has become characteristic of TDP and its political ally BJP to say one thing in one area and exactly the opposite in another area," Digvijaya Singh said.
To a question whether he was considering it a mistake to divide the state, he took the official line and said: "What I am trying to say is that the Congress gave separate state only after all the other parties had agreed. On whether other parties had erred, he said: "In a democracy, it is the will of the people that matters," He, however, did not choose to talk about the "will of the people" of Seemandhra who were against bifurcation.
Asked when the Congress, perceived as "devil" by people, would become an "angel", Digvijaya Singh said the Congress was always an angel. Asked if the party would be able to come to power in the next elections, he said it would emerge as a potent force, betraying once again lack of confidence of winning the hearts of the people.
Asked about the demand that Priyanka Gandhi should take over the leadership from Rahul Gandhi, Divgviajay Singh said it was Priyanaka who should take a decision whether she should come to politics or not.
The Congress general secretary said that road map ahead for the party was to retrieve the lost ground in AP by fighting for what has been promised for the state in the AP State Bifurcation Act. All the promises including the promise made by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floor of Rajya Sabha that special category status would be bestowed on AP. "We will fight relentlessly. Though there may not be any member from AP in Lok Sabha there are four in Rajya Sabha. The Congress as a party would fight for what is due for AP and this is the route the party has taken to win back people's trust," he said.
Referring to the amendment to the Land Ceiling Act, he said that the bill would be opposed in Rajya Sabha because it is meant to snatch away the rights of the farmers. "We will not allow its passage," he said.
AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh expressed displeasure over the two states of AP and Telangana fighting over their share of Krishna water in Nagarjuana Sagar Project. "Both the chief ministers should sit together and resolve the issue. The Bifurcation Act has specified a mechanism for sharing of waters between the two states," he said.