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Can Rahul revive Cong in TS?

Can Rahul revive Cong in TS?
Highlights

Can Rahul revive Cong in TS. The Telangana Congress will have a big schedule this week as its crown prince Rahul Gandhi would visit the State purportedly to instill confidence in farmers.

Whatever may be the declared purpose of a political leader, the fact remains is that Rahul Gandhi’s visit is aimed at instilling confidence in Congress rank and file rather than reviving hope in distressed farming community. Both in the State and the country, agrarian distress is the burning problem that has come handy for the Congress

The Telangana Congress will have a big schedule this week as its crown prince Rahul Gandhi would visit the State purportedly to instill confidence in farmers. Whatever may be the declared purpose of a political leader, the fact that remains is that Rahul Gandhi’s visit is aimed at instilling confidence in Congress rank and file rather than reviving hope in distressed farming community. Both in the State and the country, agrarian distress is the burning problem that has come handy for the Congress. Normally a visit by a leader does not alter the fortunes of a party.

But, there is more than one reason why the Congress workers are jubilant over the visit of Rahul Gandhi. He is coming to the State within a few weeks after the leader has undergone ‘rejuvenation therapy.’ No one knows what Rahul had done during his recent mysterious disappearance. But, certainly Congress vice-president seems to be in a completely different profile surprising political pundits and adversaries alike. There is yet another local context, too, for Congress leaders and workers enthused over Rahul Gandhi‘s visit. The Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) government is caught on the wrong foot as far as the issue of farmers’ suicides is concerned.

The KCR government is not even ready to accept the gravity of the problem, leave alone finding a structural solution to the recurring problem of peasants committing suicides. Telangana, along with Andhra Pradesh, leads in agrarian indebtedness, according to the recent survey by the National Sample Survey organization (NSSO). The State has registered a negative growth rate of over 10 per cent in agricultural sector which has adversely affected overall growth rate in the State. The truncated implementation of loan waiver has left farmers in a state of helplessness.

Lack of access to adequate institutional credit, persistent crop failures, disastrous impact of natural calamities, sharp fall in groundwater level, falling prices of several agricultural commodities, increasing uncertainty in commercial crop cultivation, problem of spurious inputs like seeds, pesticides, fertilisers etc., are the many facets of agrarian distress in Telangana. But, the political leadership that presides over this ‘rich and surplus’ State are not ready to even accept the grim reality leave alone attempting to correct it or at least alleviate the suffering of the peasant masses. The policy incrimentalism pursued by the new government in the new State is adding insult to the injury.

Thus, the Telangana political agenda perfectly fits into the overall Congress agenda which Rahul Gandhi has unveiled in the recent past. Rahul is on a nationwide tour to highlight Modi government’s failure in addressing the concerns of farmers, and the anti-farmer land acquisition ordinance. Besides the agrarian distress, there are issues galore in Telangana giving Congress and its leaders enough ammunition to fire at the ruling dispensation. The educated youth are annoyed over the inordinate delay in the process of recruitment to government posts. The universities are witnessing a simmering discontent.

Precisely this is the reason why Congress state leadership is toying with the idea of taking Rahul Gandhi to Osmania University which is already on the boil over the same issue. The same universities were the centers of Telangana movement. Now, the TRS ministers and leaders are finding it difficult to even address any meeting on the campuses. The RTC strike has heralded an agitation time in both the States. The Contract and Outsourcing employees are awaiting implementation of a promise that would change their lives. Meanwhile, the State government is yet to initiate serious action on some of its key promises like KG to PG free education, distribution of land to the landless dalits, two bed room houses for the poor etc.

The Congress believes that these unfulfilled promises create sufficient ambiance for Rahul Gandhi’s political pilgrimage ostensibly to console families of farmers who committed suicides. The State Congress is on a hectic bid to turn Rahul’s yatra into a show of strength. It plans to rally thousands of Congress workers to walk along with Rahul Gandhi. Perhaps the strength of Congress workers would easily overwhelm the peasant population of the locality. Though the Telugu Desam is making right kind of noises on many issues, its critique on the KCR government is easily dismissed on the ground that it is crafted and drafted in the neighboring state.

This congenital weakness of Telangana TDP makes its struggle against TRS government weak. For reasons better known to them, the state BJP is unable to lead anti-TRS campaign. The party is divided over its prospective ties with ruling TRS, thus making it incapacitated to fight. Their own leaders are publicly accusing a section of BJP leadership being managed by KCR. Whether it is true or not, certainly BJP’s actions are totally subdued especially after Medak by-elections. United struggles of the Left are yet to catch the imagination of the people. The YSR Congress party is no longer relevant in Telangana.

Thus, Congress despite its many deformities and internal rumblings hopes to strike. As the party that delivered on the promise of Telangana, Congress believes that it can sell its message to the people of Telangana. Even TRS leadership continues to acknowledge Sonia Gandhi’s indispensible role in translating the long-cherished dream into a reality. Strong anti-incumbency owing to a series of corruption scams both at the Centre and in the Congress-ruled states have driven the party to its waterloo. Congress was in power in the State for over a decade which obviously generates an element of anti-incumbency.

Meanwhile, even as the Congress-led UPA government prepared to grant statehood for Telangana, meeting the aspirations of the people in this region, the Congress Chief Ministers in the State and party Seemandhra leaders were taking a strident anti-Telangana position. This robbed the sheen from the Telangana Congress even as the region celebrated statehood. These adverse factors, however, no longer haunt Telangana Congress thus creating a hope for revival in the party. Though time would tell the tale, none other than Rahul Gandhi is to launch this Congress Mission Telangana.

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