Vijayawada: Compared to what it was in 2014, the Andhra Ratna Bhavan, the office of the AP Congress, looks deserted. Five years back, there were thousands of cadre and hundreds of leaders visiting the place regularly, lobbying for tickets.
The office has a long history of glory. It was the building from where, during the country’s struggle for Independence from the British, the Congress planned various activities, agitations and movements. In fact, this was the building that gave the party Duggirala Gopalakrishnayya, first Andhra leader to become secretary of the All India Congress Committee.
The office building in Vijayawada was named Andhra Ratna after Gopalakrishnayya who hailed from Penuganchiprolu, Krishna district was a well-known freedom fighter who led the Chirala-Perala agitation.
The PCC headquarters was in Madras (now Chennai) before 1929. After the carving out of Andhra Pradesh from Madras state, it was shifted to Vijayawada. It was later named Andhra Ratna Bhavan.
From this office, freedom fighters of the Congress planned several agitations and succeeded. Many national leaders earned their spurs from the Vijayawada Congress office. After that, the APCC was shifted to Hyderabad in the 1950s.
Even after the PCC was shifted to Hyderabad, the office building in Vijayawada continued to be used as the district Congress office.
As such, it used to be always filled with activists because, in those times, the only political party with a national presence was the Congress. The lane on which the building stands is still called the Congress office road.
Since the latest bifurcation of the state, the building started to lose its glory that was on the wane. This, even though the office of the present PCC president N. Raghuveera Reddy’s office was shifted here in 2016. Now, decades after the crucial role played by the building and its occupants in the struggle for Independence, the leaders have not been able to retain the glory and significance the structure has been commanding for such a long period.
Speaking to this newspaper, district joint secretary of Senior Citizen Association Sikhanam Sriramamurthy said. “Once upon a time the Congress party office brought glory even at the national level. We can never expect that again. Offices of various other parties, even those that have been established just a few months back, are abuzz with activity as against the situation here.”
He added that the Congress may hoist its flag in Uttar Pradesh but not in Andhra Pradesh....