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Ravi, Chiranjeevi discuss Congress crisis in Andhra

Source: PTI
April 18, 2012 15:57 IST
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Union Minister Vayalar Ravi, who is currently on a visit to Andhra Pradesh to take stock of the prevailing situation in the Congress in the wake of its sagging popularity, met actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi in Hyderabad on Wednesday.

"Chiranjeevi is one of the top leaders of the Congress party. Not only in the state, his contribution to the national level also, we are taking to maximum possible (extent)," Ravi told reporters after a breakfast meeting with Chiranjeevi, who has been elected to the Rajya Sabha recently.

Chiranjeevi's Praja Rajyam was merged with the Congress in the recent past and the Telugu mega star is likely to be made a Union minister. It was with Praja Rajyam's support, the Congress government in the state survived a TDP-sponsored no-confidence motion, which was supported by the Congress MLAs loyal to Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Asked about the complaint of some erstwhile Praja Rajyam leaders that they did not get due recognition in the Congress post-merger, Ravi said they are being accommodated and would be recognised in due course.

Chiranjeevi, too, said the merger from grass root level is a slow process which takes its time. Replying to a query, Ravi said he did not discuss the selection of candidates for the ensuing bypolls with state leaders and it will be done in due process.

The main criteria for selection of candidates is winnability, he said.

Ravi began his mission of assessing the ground situation on Tuesday in the wake of sagging popularity of Congress in Andhra Pradesh ahead of crucial by-elections to 18 Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat.

Ravi, an old hand in Andhra affairs, held consultations with several MPs, MLAs, ministers and other party leaders.

Denying that there is lack of coordination between the chief minister and the state Congress President Botsa Satyanarayana, Ravi said on Tuesday they are discharging their respective duties.

Ravi, however, stressed the party needs to be rejuvenated and strengthened from the grassroots level and geared up to face the coming by-polls.

"The YSR party (of Jagan) is trying to challenge us in the coastal area. Yes, we have to face the challenge," he said.

Ravi said his visit is not aimed at change of either the chief minister or the PCC president. "I have no mandate to do anything regarding the CM or the PCC president."

The Union minister's visit came in the wake of the trouble in the state Congress over the Telangana issue and the reported growing strength of Jagan. The ruling party is gripped by intense infighting among party leaders in recent times. The sharp differences within the party have emerged as a matter of concern to the Congress high command as bypolls will be held soon to 18 assembly and one Lok Sabha constituency.

The Congress drew a blank in the by-polls held for seven Assembly seats last month in Andhra which sends the largest contingent of party MPs to the Lok Sabha.

Kiran Reddy and Satyanarayana had been recently summoned to Delhi and reportedly told by the party leadership to work for the Congress' victory in the coming polls.

Andhra is the only major state where the Congress is in power on its own and which has sent over 30 MPs to the Lok Sabha. The by-polls for 16 seats have become necessary due to the disqualification of sitting Congress MLAs by Assembly Speaker who switched loyalty to Jagan. A sitting member quit in support of Jagan in another seat. Besides, Chiranjeevi quit as MLA following his election to Rajya Sabha.



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