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Sonia Gandhi rushes Vyalar Ravi to AP

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | April 01, 2004 19:42 IST

Congress president Sonia Gandhi has rushed All India Congress Committee observer Vyalar Ravi to Hyderabad to defuse the crisis gripping the party's Andhra Pradesh unit.

Several senior AP Congress leaders have quit the party in the past couple of weeks complaining of discrimination in allotment of tickets for the forthcoming assembly and Lok Sabha polls.

There is discontent also over the party's tie-up with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi.
Vyalar Ravi, who arrived in the city on Thursday, immediately got down to meeting the state leaders. First he met AP Congress Committee president D Srinivas and Congress Legislature Party leader Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. This was followed with an interaction with the dissidents, including former Union minister P Shiv Shankar, four-time MP M Baga Reddy and former ministers Kamatam Ram Reddy and K Keshav Rao.

The dissidents are believed to have complained about favouritism in selection of candidates and allotment of some seats to the TRS.

Shiv Shankar told Vyalar Ravi how the party had failed to live up to its promise of earmarking 30 per cent tickets for the backward classes.

The dissidents also expressed their displeasure over the injustice done to partymen, including members of the dissolved assembly, due to allotment of their seats to the TRS and the Communists under a seat-sharing arrangement in Telangana.

With 42 assembly seats and six Lok Sabha seats allotted to the TRS and five assembly seats and one Lok Sabha constituency each given to the two Communist parties, the Congress is effectively contesting only 55 assembly seats and eight Lok Sabha seats in the Telangana region.

Former state minister K Keshav Rao said: "We have told Ravi that we have nothing against the party or the alliance with TRS. However, we are pained by the happenings in the party. Party tickets have been virtually sold to the highest bidders. I can identify at least seven assembly seats where the tickets have been sold to candidates who are political weaklings."

According to information received at Gandhi Bhavan, the state Congress headquarters, as many as 50 Congress rebels have filed nominations as independents from various constituencies.


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