Want all old friends to return to Andhra Congress: Oommen Chandy

Want all old friends to return to Andhra Congress: Oommen Chandy

Keen to regain a foothold in Andhra Pradesh, the new AICC General Secretary in-charge of the state Oommen Chandy wants all “old friends” to return to the Congress.

The former Kerala Chief Minister, who assumed office of AICC General Secretary on Thursday, said he would be visiting Vijayawada on Monday to meet the state leaders of the Congress and try to understand their views on an alliance.

“I am going there with an open mind … I request all our old friends who have left the Congress to come back,” Chandy told DH when asked whether the Congress was ready to work with Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy led outfit – YSR Congress.

A number of Congress leaders such as D Purandeshwari, K S Rao, Kanna Laaxminarayana among others had joined the BJP after the Lok Sabha elections of 2014.

The Congress, which once held sway over undivided Andhra Pradesh winning 33 of the 42 seats in 2009 elections, has been reduced to a marginal player in the state with Jagan's YSR Congress emerging as the main opposition.

Chandy expressed confidence about Congress regaining its lost glory in the state. “Congress has special concern  about Andhra Pradesh. The people of Andhra Pradesh gave immense love to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi. After the Rajiv Gandhi era, P V Narasimha Rao, who was from Andhra Pradesh, led the nation,” he said.

“Unfortunately, in the last few years, there have been some differences of opinion and misunderstanding. The party has suffered. We will work hard to rebuild the party and return it to its original glory in Andhra Pradesh,” Chandy said.

The Congress' fortunes in Andhra Pradesh plunged after the death of popular chief minister Y S Rajashekhara Reddy in 2009. When the Congress refused to anoint the late CM's son Jagan Mohan as his political heir, he rebelled and split the party.

The UPA government's decision to carve out a separate state of Telangana led to its wipe out in Andhra Pradesh. In the assembly elections that followed, TDP returned to power in the residual state of Andhra Pradesh, while Jagan's outfit emerged as the main opposition. The Congress was relegated to the margins of the state's political landscape.