Congress rudderless in T; KCR makes headway
Congress Rudderless in Telangana; TRS Chief KCR Makes Headway, TRS has begun its election campaign on an aggressive note and has been continuing in the same energetic manner. The Congress has been like a sitting duck unable to give any semblance of a good fight.
Hyderabad: Well begun is half done. Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) has begun its election campaign on an aggressive note and has been continuing in the same energetic manner. The Congress has been like a sitting duck unable to give any semblance of a good fight. Even after the visit of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, the party’s local leadership is not able to raise the level of its endeavour.
It is left to Union Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh to provide leadership in Telangana. Jairam Ramesh, who has never fought a direct election in his political career, is spearheading the campaign. Jairam is touring the region addressing public meetings and hold press conferences and delivering punch lines to match those of TRS chief K Chandrasekhara Rao. He is assisted by Koppula Raju, a retired IAS officer who joined the Congress only a months ago. Within his limitations, Jairam is doing a fine job. But, it is a sad commentary on the level of leadership in Telangana where the Congress has a distinct advantage to claim the loyalty of the voters. The edge is being steadily neutralised by KCR who is on the prowl.
Stalwarts of the Congress party like S Jaipal Reddy, D Srinivas, K Jana Reddy have been conspicuous by their absence in the scene. The old horses who fought several electoral battles are mostly confined to their constituencies. TPCC chief Ponnala Lakshmiah has an image problem. He is not considered a strong votary of Telangana statehood. He is known as a Telangana leader who cooperated with Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, Rosaiah and Kiran Kumar Reddy by all means. Congress candidates have been fending for themselves without depending on the PCC.
The only good thing that happened is appointment of Dr Shravan, who defected from the TRS on being denied a ticket, as the spokesperson of the party. Even though many spokespersons of the Congress party had objected to Shravan being elevated within hours of joining the party, he has been doing a commendable job rebutting KCR’s charges in a fitting manner.
The Congress leaders are not able to hold any public meetings other than the Karimnagar show which is not comparable to the one addressed by KCR a few days earlier in the same town. The party leaders are waiting for Rahul Gandhi to come and Sonia Gandhi to visit once more. Such is the pathetic situation in the party that there is no concerted effort to take credit for the historic decision of bifurcating Andhra Pradesh respecting the wishes of the people of Telangana. KCR, on the other hand, has been going great guns. He has been undertaking whirlwind tours systematically consolidating his party’s position. The lapses of years in not building the party in the districts is being compensated by the tours and meetings thus creating an atmosphere which is sure to give confidence to the candidates as well as the voters that TRS is going to form the government.
KCR is ably assisted by his nephew Harish Rao who is looking after almost 20 constituencies, besides his own Siddipet and his uncle’s Gajwel Assembly and Medak Lok Sabha constituencies. He is in charge of the campaign in the constituency where the mother of Srikanta Chary, the young man who immolated himself for the cause of Telangana, is a candidate. Besides Harish, KCR’s son K Taraka Rama Rao and daughter Kavita are giving good bytes to the news channels, keeping up the tempo. KCR is going to address nearly 10 meetings in Adilabad district on Sunday alone. He has taken himself and his campaign very seriously and the results are showing. TRS is a party with a strong leader and without strong cadres. Congress has strong cadres but no leader who can claim to represent all of Telangana. Ponnala Lakashmaiah, could not rise to the occasion. Senior Congress leaders who do not wish to be named say in private that Chandrababu Naidu delivered a death blow to the Congress with his tactics of announcing that TDP would have a BC Chief Minister in Telangana. The Congress high command was taken for a ride by that announcement.
The party leadership which was nominating presidents for Telangana and Seemandhra PCCs at that time focused only on BC leaders for selection. That was how leaders like Jaipal Reddy and Jana Reddy were not considered for the TPCC post. Damodara Rajanarasimha was also not in the picture. The Congress high command could not see the game plan of Naidu who anointed a BC leader as the TDP Chief Ministerial candidate, knowing well that there is absolutely no chance of his party winning majority in Telangana Assembly elections and forming government. The Congress high command must have thought that if a BC was not appointed to the PCC post, all the BC voters would be voting for the TDP. Having appointed Ponnala, it should have encouraged other leaders of standing to tour the districts and enthuse the cadres. The party will regret the lapses at leisure.