Congress’ Telangana unit upbeat after roaring success of Khammam rally

Hyderabad: The Congress party in Telangana is upbeat over the huge success of Sunday’s Khammam public meeting addressed by party leader Rahul Gandhi.

Massive public response to the meeting titled ‘Telangana Jana Garjana’ (Roar of Telangana people) coupled with the confidence shown by Rahul Gandhi in his speech infused enthusiasm in the party’s state unit.

With this public meeting, the Congress kicked off its campaign for the Assembly elections due to be held later this year.

The huge response not only lifted the spirit of the party cadre in the state and gave it the confidence that it can give ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) a run for its money.

This was the first major show of strength by the Congress in Telangana after its victory in Karnataka elections.

State Congress leaders said that the Congress cadre is rejuvenated, enthused and buoyant after the massive success of the Khammam rally. They claimed that the “angry and insecure” reactions by BRS and BJP leaders is a clear indication that the comeback of a resurgent Congress and its march towards power in Telangana has rattled the BJP as well as its ‘B-Team’.

“Telangana is ready for change,” claimed state Congress chief A. Revanth Reddy. He went to announce that Telangana Congress will hold a victory meet on December 9, birthday of party leader Sonia Gandhi.

Political analysts say while the momentum shifted towards Congress after its victory in Karnataka and the party has made a good beginning to build on this momentum.

“Congress sees an opportunity in Telangana and the Khammam public meeting shows the party does not want to lose it,” said political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy.

As the party has been plagued by infighting over the last few years, the leadership took all the care to accommodate everyone on the dais.

“Compare to other parties, Congress is known for scoring self-goals. An attempt was made at the public meeting to ensure that the party does not score a self-goal,” he said.

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The meeting was not only to induct former MP Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy into the Congress party but also marked the culmination of Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka’s padyatra.

Though Rahul Gandhi welcomed Srinivasa Reddy into the party, he paid more attention to Bhatti’s padyatra. The Congress MP was all praise for him for undertaking the 1,360 km padyatra and even thanked him.

Analysts say this gesture would go a long way in encouraging the party leaders and workers trying to strengthen the party.

During his speech, Rahul Gandhi hailed the party workers calling them lions and backbone of the party. He noted that while many leaders left the party in Telangana in recent years, the workers stood by the party.

He also boosted the morale of the party by declaring that the BJP is longer in the race in Telangana and that the direct fight will be between the Congress and the BRS.

Party supporters hailed with loud cheers when he said Karnataka will be repeated in Telangana.

Despite the defeats in 2014 and 2018 polls, defections, poor performance in Assembly by-elections and elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) and the infighting, the Congress remains a strong force in the state.

Unlike the BJP whose presence is confined to few districts, the Congress still has strong presence across the state. It got a big boost last week when 35 leaders from BRS including former Khammam MP Srinivasa Reddy and former minister Jupally Krishna Rao decided to join Congress.

The Congress, which was hoping to politically benefit in Telangana by claiming credit for delivering a separate state, had lost the initiative to the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (now BRS).

In the 119-member assembly, the Congress could only win 21 seats while the TRS formed the first government in the new state. Out of 17 Lok Sabha seats, Congress could win just two. Defections of some MLAs and resignation of several senior leaders to join the TRS had further weakened the party. The slide continued for the Congress in 2018.

Despite an alliance with Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Left and other small parties, the Congress could win only 19 assembly seats while the TRS retained power by increasing its tally from 63 to 88. The Congress could not keep its flock together as a dozen MLAs defected to the TRS a few months later. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress managed to win three seats. However, the party’s performance was disastrous in Assembly by-elections during the last four years as it failed to win a single seat.  (IANS)

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