Hyderabad: Congress High Command has taken the humiliating defeat in the Kadapa by-elections seriously and is sending its trouble shooter and state party in charge Mr. Ghulam Nabi Azad to Hyderabad to diagnose the disease and start immediate treatment.
At the time when Mr. Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy was going on his ‘Odarpu Yatras’ several Congress leaders including the Chief Minister Mr. N. Kirankumar Reddy, senior leader Mr. V Hanumanta Rao and others have underestimated his strength and misguided the party leadership and saw that it applied breaks to the young leader’s speed. They made several complaints against him to the High Command to ensure that he would not become taller than them. Finally convinced that Mr. Jagan was a nonentity, the party High Command has humiliated him and created a situation where he would leave the party along with his mother. Even at that time, the state leadership has projected a larger than life image for the late YSR’s brother Mr. Vivekananda Reddy and convinced the Delhi bosses that by retaining the younger brother of YSR in Congress they have worked out a magic and totally neutralized the effect of Mr. Jagan.
Though leaders like Mr. Hanumantha Rao have no mass backing, they command a big clout with the party central leadership and believing their words, the party has underestimated the capacity of Mr. Jagan. Now when the Kadapa by-election results stunned the entire nation, leaders of several national parties have described young Jagan as another Mamata Benerji in the making and said the Congress party has lost Andhra Pradesh, by antagonizing him.
Acting swiftly, the party High Command has directed Mr. Azad to rush to Hyderabad and start postmortem of the Congress party’s dismal performance in Kadapa despite fielding powerful candidates and leading an all out onslaught on Mr. Jagan and his mother.
Mr. Azad would be camping in the Lake View Guest House for two days and discussing the debacle of the party with all leaders including the Chief Minister and the PCC Chief Mr. D Srinivas.
Andhra Pradesh is a very important state to the Congress party as the state stood by it in major crises. The party is keen that the state affairs are to be streamlined and the party leadership should be strengthened immediately. It is learnt that the Congress president would be summoning the PCC chief and the Chief Minister to New Delhi to discuss the matter after Mr. Azad’s visit to Hyderabad.
Ms. Gandhi has reportedly discussed with Mr. Azad about the reports she received from various sources about Jagan getting over 5 lakhs majority, the Congress candidate loosing his deposit, the reported moves of Mr. Jagan to topple the government and the allegations that the party has lost all dynamism after the death of YSR. Ms. Gandhi is believed to be worried that despite appointing Mr. N. Kirankumar Reddy, who hails from the same community as Mr. Jagan and who also hails from the same Rayalaseema area – to counter his influence – the party received such pathetic results in the by-elections. She is reported to have directed Mr. Azad to suggest ways to strengthen the party in the state so that signals could be sent to the cadres that the leadership was alive to the weaknesses and was overhauling it.
During his mission to Hyderabad, Mr. Azad is likely to concentrate on the need to change the PCC leadership, action to be taken against party MLAs and leaders who violated discipline and stood by Mr. Jagan, cabinet reconstitution and preparing a plan to resolve the Telangana tangle. It is said that the stocks of the Chief Minister Mr. N. Kirankumar Reddy reached in an all-time low with New Delhi.
Mr. Azad’s visit was originally scheduled for the month end or the first week of June and the purpose fixed earlier was to initiate talks on Telangana. The PCC Chief Mr. Srinivas has also said in a recent press conference that Mr. Azad would only be arriving at Hyderabad, towards May month end. Now the Kadapa debacle has changed priorities for the party leadership, and affairs of the state party took precedence over the Telangana problem.
COMPLAINT TO HIGH COMMAND
It is said that Mr. Azad would estimate the state leadership’s responsibility for such humiliating defeat and suggest to the High Command, steps to be taken to strengthen the party. Several ministers are planning to go to New Delhi after Mr. Azad’s visit, with different versions of theirs over the Kadapa results.
It is learnt that several Congress leaders have sent reports to the High Command alleging that the state party has totally underestimated the strength of Mr. Jagan and the Chief Minister and the PCC Chief had not prepared any strategies to ensure party’s success in Kadapa. Several Congress leaders are privately dismissing the state party taking excuse by stating that the entire district administration of Kadapa was at the beck and call of Jagan. They argue that it was ridiculous to state that either the collector or the SP of the district have not cared for the battalion of ministers camping in Kadapa and had obliged Mr. Jagan. They point out that even if that were to be true, it only reflected on the weakness of the government and not the strength of the opponent.
One senior leader of the party is believed to have complained to the High Command that the delay in the selection of a candidate, trying to woo a TDP leader into the party to make him the candidate and finally choosing minister Mr. Ravindra Reddy have sent signals well before the election that the party was totally weak. He is believed to have expressed the opinion that even if a minority, BC or Dalit candidate was fielded, the defeat would not have been so humiliating. The leader is reported to have expressed the opinion that the Congress should have concentrated on harnessing the votes of other communities and minorities as the powerful Reddy community stood by Mr. Jagan.
According to reliable information, the party leadership would take stringent steps to strengthen the party and these steps include disciplining party men openly defying the party leadership and standing by Mr. Jagan. (NSS)