Congress leaders and political analysts feel that Congress president Sonia Gandhi should have visited Telangana after the Parliament passed the Telangana Bill and after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi refused to ally with the Congress. Vicky Nanjappa reports
The 60-year struggle for a separate state of Telangana may have come to an end, but for the Congress the battle to win the election in Telangana has only begun. Some say that Telangana is the only region in the country where there is no anti-Congress wave.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi was in Karimnagar on Wednesday for her first rally in the region since the Parliament cleared the formation of the state. But many Congressmen say that her visit to the region has come a bit late. She should have been there at least 2 weeks ago, they feel.
In comparison, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi seems to have an edge, with party chief K Chandrasekhar Rao hitting the campaign trail early. He has been urging the electorate to vote for his party that made a separate state of Telangana a reality.
This is Sonia’s fifth appearance in Karimnagar, which a strategic location for any party that wants to manipulate play up the Telangana sentiment. The people here have voted traditionally on this sentiment. KCR too had started his campaign from here and this is the constituency that elected him in the by-poll after he resigned over the Telangana cause.
Congress leaders and political analysts say that Sonia should have visited Telangana after the Parliament passed the Telangana bill and after KCR refused to ally with the Congress.
She could have spoken about the betrayal of the TRS. Although the local leaders have been speaking about it, it would have had a greater impact coming from the Congress president, many in the Congress feel.
However, the delay is being attributed to one major factor. The Congress was hopeful that the TRS would either merge or ally with them. They were waiting for a change of heart by KCR.
But some are still optimistic. Sonia has a few more rallies in Telangana and she will make a difference, Congress leaders feel. They also feel that Sonia or son Rahul Gandhi should have contested from Telangana giving the party a greater chance.
The scales may have tilted in the favour of the TRS, but it is not going to be a whitewash for the Congress. It will be force in Telangana which could force a hung assembly.
In all probability it appears that both the Congress and the TRS may not be able to form a government without each other. The party with the higher share gets to pick the first chief minister of Telangana state.
Image: Congress President Sonia Gandhi