What are Congress party’s plans for Seemandhra?

Amidst all the churning that is happening in Andhra Pradesh in the wake of Centre’s announcement on division of State, a very vague and nascent idea doing the rounds is the possibility of Seemandhra leaders belonging to different hues coming together to form a party.

Though no concrete move has been made in that direction so far, informed sources said the prospects of a new party, if at all it takes shape, are being privately discussed in closed-door sessions.

Various theories are being propounded as to why and how this could happen. Among them are: a) If the division is taken to its logical conclusion, it is certain that the Congress will face a rout in Seemandhra where only two players will remain: YSR Congress and Telugu Desam; b) If this premise is accepted, what are the options before the sitting Congress legislators and MPs–they have to either take a political holiday or opt for parties which are expected to be in the reckoning; c) Having given up hope in Seemandhra, will the Congress itself tacitly approve such a formation to bring about a three-way fight instead of leaving the field open to YSRC and TDP; d) This again depends on whether Congress/Jagan is willing/unwilling to strike either a pre-poll or post-poll deal. In the event of an understanding between Congress and YSRC, the national party would prefer being relegated to the third slot, but if such an option is not exercised for any reason, it would not like either Jagan Mohan Reddy or Naidu to reap the dividends.

A minister from North Coastal Andhra, who is among the first to resign after Delhi’s announcement, is said to have floated the idea before Union minister Chiranjeevi, but the chances of his taking such an initiatve are remote.

What is also limiting the thought process from going forward is the absence of a powerful leader in Seemandhra who can rally forces and build support for a new formation. But, some in those regions seem to entertain the hope that as events unfold over the next few weeks, it is likely that political compulsions could force some of those holding prominent positions to see an opportunity in breaking ranks.

Senior leaders in the Telugu Desam as well as the BJP expect major developments to happen

in Seemandhra in the next few weeks and they also see this as part of a possible ploy by the Congress to create all-round confusion.

As it is, by announcing the decision to divide the State just eight months before the elections, the Congress fired just one bullet that caused injuries to too many. “The BJP lost its major poll slogan, the Telugu Desam is in a state of confusion, TRS will be pushed into merger with the Congress, while the YSRC has been relegated to just Seemandhra,” a senior leader surmised.

Add to this, the emergence of a new formation in Seemaandhra, and the existing players will find it difficult to keep afloat.

“The bullet is out, I can’t take it back,” seems to be the one sentence that Sonia Gandhi is conveying to leaders from Seemaandhra. On her part, she intends to put in place two party chiefs–one for Telangana and the other for Seemaandhra–by October-November.

She is also said to be keen that the Telangana State should come into being well before elections and the party should go to polls with one of the party leaders as the chief minister.

It is only then that she expects to reap the kind of electoral benefit that the Congress is looking at.

[Courtesy: The New Indian Express]

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