The Congress lies in tatters in Telangana State. No longer does the party inspire anyone. Those who are still sticking with it may soon decide enough is enough. Many of their colleagues have already deserted them. Telangana Congress president N Uttam Kumar Reddy is neck deep in debts, say his supporters. Seniors like V Hanumantha Rao suspect there are TRS moles in the Congress and that catharsis has to take place.
Then there is always a chorus in the party that Uttam Kumar has become deadwood and that he has to be replaced but there are his supporters who maintain that there is no one more capable than Uttam Kumar to lead the party in these days of tribulations. The party headquarters, Gandhi Bhavan, stands like a colossal wreck in spirit, though its brick and mortar structure is intact.
The Congress leaders are not very hopeful of the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections either, in the face of the relentless campaign by the TRS that it is going to sweep all the 16 seats (Hyderabad is left to its ally AIMIM). The defeat of the TRS-backed candidates in the recently held elections to the Legislative Council from one graduates’ and two teachers’ constituencies did not cheer up the party. Two of the three seats were won by those who the Congress had backed and the third one was bagged by the candidate who had the support of the CPI as well as the Congress.
For some leaders, the results were like the first stirrings of hope that the lame duck party could acquire some signs of life but they are yet to be seen. The die-hard Congressmen are happy that they are back in the reckoning in the council as till then, the house remained Congress-free after four Congress legislators joined TRS resulting in the merger of the Congress in the pink party but deep inside them, they know they have a long way to go.
That the strong belief that the party had lost the 2018 Assembly elections because the TRS had tampered with the EVMS had not died down became evident when party leaders were quick in saying that the TRS lost the council elections because ballot papers were used. They say that the Congress performance in the Legislative Council elections vindicated that if polls were held using ballot papers in 2018, the grand old party would have come up trumps.
Party leader Sravan Dasoju put forth an interesting theory that those parties which polled more number of postal ballots had won elections in the past but in the 2018 elections, the TRS polled less number of postal ballots and yet it scored a landslide victory which means that EVMs had been tampered.
Though no one would believe this outlandish theory, it proves one point -- the Congress leaders still believe that the EVMs had been meddled with, instead of making any introspection as to how they could navigate their party through choppy waters and help it stay afloat.
The disconcerting trend of the MLAs deserting the Congress had almost broken the morale of the party. Already 11 MLAs are in the TRS camp now and just two more legislators are needed for the merger of the Congress Legislature Party in the Assembly with the TRS.
Next in the queue
But there is speculation that Sangareddy MLA T Jayaprakash Reddy and Bhadhrachalm legislator P Veeraiah are next in the queue. Jayapraksh Reddy’s comments that he cannot say if he would be in the Congress or the TRS camp now only makes it amply clear that he is waiting to see who would come to power at the Centre after May 23. If the Congress helms the Centre, then Jayapraksh Reddy might take it easy as it pays to be on the side of the ruling party or he too would be crossing the Rubicon along with Veeraiah.
More than anything, the party needs someone who could inspire its cadres and prepare them for a long drawn out struggle. At present, it is at the mercy of TRS chief and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The party has to blame itself for the predicament that it is in now.