Congress decides to bite T bullet eyeing electoral prospects

Apparently guided by electoral considerations, the Congress has finally decided to bite the Telangana bullet and grant statehood for the region.

Though the statehood demand has been hanging fire for several decades, the UPA leadership has put the issue on a fast-track in the recent weeks and decided to carve out a separate Telangana state in what is seen as a calculated gambit.

The decision came in the wake of falling support for Congress across the state and a bleak outlook ahead of the elections. By carving out Telangana state, the ruling party hopes to sweep the 2014 Parliament elections in the Telangana region which accounts for 17 out of the total 42 seats in AP.

The Congress had bagged 33 seats in the 2009 elections, the highest contribution by any state to the UPA’s tally. Ten years into the government, the party is grappling with a strong anti-incumbency factor and desertions from its ranks.

The death of charismatic Congress Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy, in a helicopter crash in September 2009, had created a leadership vacuum in the state unit. The Telangana factor and the growing popularity of the YSR Congress President YS Jaganmohan Reddy have added to its worries.

By granting statehood to Telangana, the Congress hopes to neutralize two of its main rivals—the Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu, whose ambivalence on Telangana issue led to erosion of his party’s support base in the region,   and Jagan who is seen as a formidable force in Seemandhra.

Despite the vertical split in the party over bifurcation, the Congress decided to play the Telangana card since the BJP, its main rival at the national level, had already promised to grant statehood in the event of NDA coming to power in the 2014 elections.

The Congress is keen on taking the credit for fulfilling the aspirations of the people of Telangana region and reaping the electoral dividends.

Comments (+)