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Can D Srinivas change Congress's fading fortunes in Andhra?

October 24, 2011 17:55 IST

For the Congress top brass, D Srinivas possesses all the traits for an effective leader, Vicky Nanjappa reports

D Srinivas, a senior Congress leader from Telangana, has filed his nomination for a seat in the state legislative council.

The council seat was left vacant by Congress leader K Rosaiah after he stepped down from the post of the chief minister. Srinivas, the only leader to have filed his nomination, will be elected unopposed.

Srinivas is probably one of the most acceptable leaders in the Congress today as the people of Telangana believe that he has their cause at heart.

According to sources, the Congress high command is toying with the idea of a leadership change and they would want someone from Telangana region, as the movement for a separate state has reached fever pitch.

Pro-Telangana activists have always remonstrated that prominent Congress leaders hail either from Rayalseema or Andhra region. They believe that Telangana and its people continue to be ignored.

A Telangana leader at the forefront of the party will help placate these activists, believe Congress leaders.

So far, the Congress has not been able to zero in on a suitable leader from Telangana. Though he is the blue-eyed boy of the high command, Jaipal Reddy is not trusted by the people of the region. Reddy is aware of his fading clout but still harbours the ambition of taking over as the CM of the new state some day.

Geetha Reddy, another senior Congress leader, is liked by most of her party colleagues but doesn't enjoy much clout in the region.

The change in the state leadership may happen soon as the Congress top brass is unhappy at the way Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has handled the Telangana crisis, say sources.

Congress's top leaders were ticked off with the fact that instead of registering cases against them, the state administration arrested Congress Members of Parliament agitating for the cause.

The arrest of the Congress MPs clearly showed the stark divide within the party over the contentious issue.

Ponnam Prabhakar, a MP from Telangana region, had declared that he didn't want bail and would rather stay in jail. He was released three days later.

Srinivas is known as a party loyalist who maintains a low profile and poses no threat to anyone. He is acceptable to the people of Telangana who believe that his intentions are honest.

Srinivas successfully headed the state unit of the Congress in 2004 and 2009, the years that the party romped to victory in the state elections. But late chief minister YSR Reddy got all the credit for those victories.

On the other hand, Srinivas has lost recent elections he has contested -- the 2009 state polls and the by-polls in 2010 from Nizambad Urban region. During his election campaign, he had exuded confidence that he will soon be a major player in the political stakes of the state.

But for the Congress top brass, Srinivas possesses all the traits for an effective leader. He is non-interfering, non-controversial and no one has any objections to his candidature.

Though the agitation for Telangana is subdued right now, Congress leaders are aware that the situation may erupt anytime and take on the violent proportions it did in the last one month.

The talks between the government and the Telangana Joint Action Committee have failed once again and the situation remains volatile.

The Congress leadership has held many rounds of discussions on this issue, but they are wary of taking a hurried decision about leadership change in Andhra Pradesh.

Vicky Nanjappa