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Sonia Gandhi visit fails to inspire Congress poll campaign in Telangana
Narendra Ch | 17 Apr 2014

Telangana Congress leaders who have cultivated high hopes on the possible out-come of party president Sonia Gandhi’s public meeting in Karimnagar on Wednesday were disappointed. This was her first visit to the region after 2009 polls and here from the same ground she assured Telangana state formation.


Congress leaders expected that her visit would boostup there morale in the region to influence the voters claiming it was Congress which brought Telangana state. Though she tried her best to drive home the point that it was her party and her party alone which made the Statehood dreams a reality, not the TRS, it was felt she failed in creating enthusiasm in Congress campaign.

As all the senior party leaders in the region were locked up in their own constituencies facing stiff contest, practically no one found in conducting party campaign while polling date of April 30 coming closer. Only union minister Jairam Ramesh touring districts, but failed to catch attention of the voters.

While public meetings being organized by TRS, TDP and YSRCP have been attracting huge crowds, practically no similar meeting or road show was organized by Congress. In such desperate scenario, Congress cadre waited for Sonia Gandhi’s campaign expecting that would generate shocking waves among voters.

But for Congress candidates standing in the polls in the region, particularly Karimnagar district, the epicentre of the Telangana movement, her visit turned out to be a bit of a disappointment — she spoke for hardly 13 minutes. In the absence of translation to her Hindi speech, the response to her speech from audience was also not encouraging.

 In the wake of TRS president K Chandrasekhar Rao’s aggression against the Congress - he has gone to the extent of comparing the “destruction caused” in Telangana under “Seemandhra rulers” to the nuclear holocaust in Japan — Telangana Congress leaders had hoped she would spend considerable time tearing apart the TRS and the TDP-BJP combine.

 However, she made just one reference to the TRS. “The TRS had no role to play in the formation of the T State” — was all that she said. Sonia Gandhi, tracing the history of the Telangana demand, said it took her seven years to fulfill the dream.

She harped more on how the Congress had pursued the Telangana process despite efforts to scuttle the bill in Parliament. “The YSRC, Telugu Desam and BJP tried to derail the process at various stages but we had our way finally. The TRS had no role in the entire process of creation of T State,” she said and reminded the voters that her party was seized of the T demand even before the formation of TRS in 2001.

However, she tried to lure voters with promises that were not found place in AICC election manifesto or in Telangana bill. She said, “We will set up a 4,000 MW power plant in Telangana which will be one of the largest in the country and we will accord national project status to the Pranahita-Chevella project. There is a tax holiday for 10 years in Telangana for those setting up industries and the entire revenue of Hyderabad will remain with Telangana government.”

According to an estimation hardly 30,000 to 40,000 people only turned out to the public meeting, while the organisers expected from one to two lakhs. A Congress leader felt this exposed absence of coordination among Congress leaders in the district.