Photographs: SnapsIndia Vicky Nanjappa
Keeping the Lok Sabha polls in mind, the Congress has chalked out a strategy in which all regions in Andhra Pradesh will remain happy, reports Vicky Nanjappa.
It came as a major surprise for the people of Rayalaseema and coastal Andhra when the Congress decided that it would commence the process to form the separate state of Telangana.
Today the Seema-Andhra regions are virtually cut off thanks to the strikes against the formation of Telangana and these protests do not show signs of subsiding in the near future.
While the Congress may have decided on forming Telangana due to major political compulsions, no one in the entire state can say with confidence that a new state would be formed anytime in the near future.
The main focus for the Congress is the 2014 parliamentary elections in which a total of 42 seats are up for grabs in the state. If they form Telangana they may manage to get a large number of seats from the new state, but are sure to lose almost everything in the rest of the state.
Cong worries Seema-Andhra washout, vote split in Telangana
In Telangana there are 17 Lok Sabha seats and with no word on a merger with the Telangana Rashtra Samiti, the Congress is worried that a lot of pro-Telangana votes may be split between them and the TRS. This hardly even serves the purpose as the Congress would like to win in at least 15 constituencies in Telangana and this is just not possible without the support of the TRS.
On the other hand the Congress is not willing to sacrifice Seema-Andhra, which have 25 seats. They have seen earlier that it was the number of seats that Congress won from Andhra Pradesh which finally helped them rule the country for a second time.
The question now is what exactly does the Congress have in mind? When Rediff.com spoke to a section of the Congress leaders, the indication was clear, and that is Telangana will not be formed until the elections are over.
Capitalise on the situation: Cong to its AP MPs
The Congress has chalked out a strategy in which all regions are happy. It has told all its MPs from Andhra Pradesh that each one needs to capitalise on the situation and ensure that the public votes for them.
The leaders from Telangana have been told to ride on the statehood sentiment and proclaim before the people that it is the Congress which has finally agreed to give Telangana. On the other hand the Seema-Andhra leaders have been told to continue with the protests. They have been told clearly that the state will not be formed until the elections are over.
Hence, when they go up to the public they should take credit for stalling or delaying the formation of the state as a result of which the public would be happy.
Congress sources in Andhra Pradesh told Rediff.com that the elections next year will not be fought on developmental issues. The agenda for Andhra Pradesh is about Telangana and both sides need to make the best of the situation and convey to the public what has been told to them.
The Congress think tank feels that the issue of statehood should take primary focus in Andhra Pradesh during the elections next year. It is the most sentimental issue for the public from every region, and hence it would help them.
Moreover by speaking extensively about the Telangana issue, what the Congress hopes to keep away the YSR sympathy factor away which Jaganmohan Reddy would use a lot during the campaign.
In comparison to YSR, the Telangana issue is of much more importance for the public and hence the Congress feels that this should be made the main election plank.
'Congress is known to make promises and go back on their word'
In Telangana, the Congress does realise that TRS chief K Chandrashekhar Rao is in no mood to enter into a tie-up or merge his party. He realises that it would be the end of his political career if he does so and would want to test the waters before making any decision.
The Congress has been open about its intentions where the TRS is concerned. They do not want any of the pro-Telangana votes to be split.
KCR appears to be confident that the Congress will not walk away with all the credit for Telangana and there are a good number of people who still feel that all along it was only the TRS which stood with them.
"Credit is not something that is available at a shop. Let the people decide for themselves who fought for the Telangana cause. The Congress is known to make promises and go back on their word. Let us see what they do this time, but we are sure that there will be no talk of a tie-up or a merger unless and until the President of India signs the bill paving the way for the formation of Telangana,” KCR told Rediff.com.
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