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It's festival time at Akbar Road

Priti Patnaik in New Delhi | May 12, 2004 15:58 IST

When senior Congress Party leader, Ghulam Nabi Azad, reached the Congress office this afternoon, he was glad that he had survived the fire crackers on Akbar Road, outside the party office. Party workers were dancing in jubilation as the Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections results poured in.

Cheerleaders loudly proclaimed  their victory of  far away Andhra Pradesh, drumming continuously, celebrating the 'silent revolution' against the Telugu Desam Party, where the Congress returns to power  after a hiatus of nearly a decade.

This celebration at the office was quite contrary to the plunging indices at the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Riding high on the anti-incumbency wave and a string of populist promises, coupled with the Telangana factor, the Congress-Telangana Rashtra Samithi combine secured a landslide victory winning two-thirds of the seats in the 294-member assembly.

This however, turned out to be the single-day largest decline at the BSE with markets plunging a whopping 229 points wiping out a market capitalisation of Rs.54,550 crore. But this was hardly evident at the party office.

Party workers were raising slogans, extending the victory to a prelude to the formation of a secular Congress-led government at the Centre.

Interrupted by a series of congratulatory calls, Azad said the Andhra assembly election results were a trailer to the Lok Sabha results due on May 13.

Naidu, he said, was one of the main reasons, as to why the NDA successfully completed the five-year term at the Centre.

With Naidu out of the fray, he said the pillar of the NDA has crumbled.

Azad said that the policies and programmes of the Congress appealed more to the masses who rejected the TDP-BJP combine in the state. Though the good policies of Naidu will be followed the Congress-TRS combine has formulated their own set of policies as well, he said.

He described the NDA as a 'sinking ship', he urged secular parties to join with the Congress. He said this was the time for the BSP and the SP, to rise to the occasion and fight against communalism of the BJP.

He made it clear that the manifesto of the Congress did not categorically promise the creation of the Telangana state.

All uncomfortable doubts about the possibility of the creation of a Telangana state, drowned amid the cheers of the day. The graffiti outside the Congress office, cleared most doubts.

It said, 'Ours is a national party, we cannot mortgage Congress in Telangana', or  'All those who wanted an alliance should sacrifice their seats'.

The TRS on their part, have already threatened an agitation, in case the Congress backtracks on the promise of El Dorado, their Telangana state.

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