Pincer attack

The resignation of three senior leaders, K Keshava Rao, G Vivekanand and M Jagannatham, announced on Thursday, is the latest setback for the Congress in Andhra Pradesh.

 They are set to join the Telangana  Rashtra Samithi (TRS) on Sunday. The leaders had given a deadline of May 30 to the party leadership for a decision on formation of a separate Telangana state. As no decision was made they have moved to TRS which has been agitating for statehood for the region. Keshava Rao is a former working committee member of the party and others are MPs. All three have popular support in the region. The TRS, which has promised them ticket in the next elections, has welcomed Congress leaders in the past also. The continuing exodus from the party is politically and psychologically draining the Congress in the state.

The Congress is under a pincer attack in Andhra Pradesh from the Telangana movement and the popularity of the YSR Congress, formed by Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. Jagan has been in jail for the last one year on charges of amassing unaccounted  wealth during his father’s reign. But his party has eclipsed all other parties in the Andhra region, drawing leaders and followers from them and winning most by-elections. Two senior ministers in the Kiran Kumar Reddy government were made to resign last fortnight as they were accused in corruption cases during their term in the YSR government. The Reddy government’s position is precarious as more ministers and MLAs might join the YSR Congress in the coming months. 

The flip flop on Telangana has also cost the party dearly. It is in a no-win situation on the statehood issue as a decision one way or the other will have adverse political consequences in one or the other region. After dithering on the statehood issue for so long, even acceptance of the demand may not help the party much in the Telangana area. The time for an accommodation with Jaganmohan is also past. Andhra Pradesh had sent the largest number of Congress MPs to Parliament in the last two elections. The weakening of the party in the state is bound to hit it hard in the coming Lok Sabha elections, even as it will face a more serious  electoral challenge at the national level than last time. 

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