HYDERABAD: Congress Vice president Rahul Gandhi is on whirlwind tours to different states to revive the Grand Old Party’s lost ground in the entire country. Like Batman, who comes back stronger after a mysterious sabbatical to save Gotham city, Rahul has returned from a much-speculated absence and plans to visit Telangana on the first week of August to gauge the situation there as several of its senior leaders are deserting the party only to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).
Telangana Congress heavyweight K Jana Reddy had to confront with an embarrassing question, perhaps for the first time in his entire political career, when Rahul recently asked him pointedly, saying, “Are you willing to stay in the party or planning to leave it like some of the seniors who have ditched the party?” Congress high command is unable to understand why the party is facing headwinds in the state even though it has fulfilled the long-cherished dream of the Telangana people to have their own state.
The story of Congress in Telangana is a string of failures: biting the Telangana bullet could not save it from a humiliating drubbing in the general polls but only resulted in aggressive cross-overs of the senior leaders to greener pastures leaving behind the sagging party. In hindsight, it received a death-blow in untangling the Telangana tangle with almost no prospects in reorganised Andhra Pradesh and shrinking party-base in Telangana. This puts into perspective the question posed by its vice-president at a senior leader like Reddy.
Having understood this, Rahul himself has stepped in now to resuscitate the party from the moribund state both in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In an emergency meeting with the Telangana Congress leaders in Delhi recently, Rahul reportedly pulled them up for making no efforts to resurrect the party even though it granted statehood to Telangana. Such was the message that Congress senior leaders on Friday hit the road to take on the TRS dispensation immediately.
Interestingly, Reddy, who rarely makes an appearance in protest demonstrations, was out there holding placards along with other senior leaders Shabbir Ali, V Hanumantha Rao, Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka and TPCC Chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy. They were arrested when they tried to lay siege to the state secretariat on Friday.
Reddy was quick to rubbish the news reports speculating his possible jumping on the TRS bandwagon. “ I have no plans, whatsoever, to shift allegiance to other political parties,” he clarified. Enthused by the success of his first-tour in Telangana in May, Rahul is all set to make another tour to hit out at the TRS dispensation in August.
On the other hand, the Congress party, which has been relegated to a wallflower role on the political landscape of the reorganised Andhra Pradesh, is leaving no stone unturned to corner the TDP government. With regular guidance from the party high command, the APCC boss N Raghuveera Reddy has been undertaking a series of demonstrations against the alleged failures of the N Chandrababu Naidu’s government.
It was the Congress, which has not even a single MLA and MP of its in the state, giving jitters to the TDP government following the recent stampede on the banks of the river Godavari as part of Pushkarams that claimed 27 lives. To further enthuse the party cadres in the state, Rahul will undertake a 10 km-long padyatra in Anantapur district during his visit to the state on July 24.
Interestingly, several of the one-time Congress stalwarts such as TDP MP JC Diwakar Reddy, who were considered as the loyal soldiers of the 10 Janpath prior to bifurcation of undivided Andhra Pradesh, have now threatened Rahul to create impediments to his proposed padayatra for “the way the erstwhile UPA government had done injustice to Seemandhra while dividing the state.”