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Karnataka's tailwinds thrust Telangana Congress forward with gusto


Published on: May 16, 2023 | Updated on: May 16, 2023

From Left: V. Hanumantha Rao, TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy, Telangana incharge Manikrao Thakre and MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, and other Congress leaders celebrate the party's victory in the recently concluded Karnataka elections at Gandhi Bhavan. (File photo: S. Surender Reddy)

Hyderabad: Barely had the trends consolidated beyond being reconfigured, leaving no scope for further change or surprise in Karnataka on Saturday, that crackers began to burst, laddu packets by the dozen were distributed and dry colours were smeared, to customary celebratory ceremonial music and dance, at the Gandhi Bhavan, the headquarters of the Telangana Congress.

Hundreds of leaders and activists began to throng the place by early noon and by the time the senior leaders, including TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy and AICC state incharge Manikrao Thakre, arrived, the place was a vision in joyous frenzy, exuberance, energy and hope.

Not since February 18, 2014, when the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Bill was passed in Lok Sabha, or a few days later, in the Upper House — did the Telangana Congress have any cause for hope or celebration.

Within 48 hours, the tailwinds from Karnataka are indeed surging the Congress flight ahead with gusto.

As a sign, there is already a general feeling among most that two key leaders, Ponguleti Srinivasa Reddy and Jupally Krishna Rao, who are both currently politically homeless might more likely swerve towards the Congress rather than the BJP. If it happens, the Congress would have a huge advantage in the erstwhile Khammam district and an edge in the Mahbubnagar district.

Far from the days when the talk of dissidence in the TPCC abounded in the public gaze, there is talk, speculation and media analysis on intra-party rifts in the Telangana state BJP, with talk of senior leaders like Etala Rajendar or Komatireddy Rajgopal Reddy being unhappy enough to reconsider their continuation. They were reportedly immediately summoned to the national capital for talks, and though they both denied any talk of resigning from any post, or the party, it remains a strong possibility in the public arena.

Political scuttlebutt has it that there could be as many as nine senior BJP leaders, many of whom are capable of winning in their legislative constituency, who are considering a shift unless the BJP high command relents on some of their key demands. Read — stop treating us as ‘outsider’ any longer.

In another signal, the Left parties, which recently worked together with the BRS in the Munugode by-elections, have also given a warning to the ruling pink party that they would consider other options if they did not get a fair share. Read – the Congress.

Though the Congress leadership has not responded to it publicly, sources acknowledged that several key BRS leaders, including some ministers and many a legislator, who are not sure of their getting a ticket in the next elections, have started sounding them out for a possibility of joining. Read – if we won’t get a ticket, we are ready to jump.

The Congress is also hopeful of a surge in public support. Though a pollster working for the party acknowledged that they had not yet done any survey post the Karnataka poll, they are sensing a better public mood in favour of the Congress in Telangana, going by online sentiment analysis. Read – if not a winner, it is being perceived as the likely principal rival to the BRS over the BJP.

The Congress is equally upbeat about the prospect of financial resources, not too different from a poor man hearing the news of his cousin winning a lottery. Read – they too will have some money.

And finally, having hailed a BJP-mukt Dakshin Bharat, the Congress feels it has an emotional narrative ready — of bringing down a corrupt government which failed to deliver, and unleashing hope with their guarantees of five major schemes heavy on welfare handouts and high on electoral returns.

And Revanth Reddy is more optimistic than ever before — what D.K. Shivakumar could do in Karnataka, he could repeat in Telangana state.