Rahul Gandhi during farmers deeksha meeting at warangal on on Friday. (Photo:DC/eepak Deshpande)
Hyderabad: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday categorically ruled out having an electoral alliance with the TRS, the chief of which, he said, had cheated and looted the people of the state.
He also warned that Congress leaders who even indirectly raise the issue of alliance with the TRS would be kicked out of the party, however big they may be. "There will be a straight fight between the Congress and the TRS and we are going to defeat it," Rahul Gandhi said, trying to position his party as the lone alternative to the ruling party at a time when BJP is claiming to have taken over the position of principal Opposition.
The Congress’ most powerful leader’s assertion on the alliance with the TRS also gained significance in the backdrop of recent events involving poll strategist Prashant Kishor. The BJP had made best use of the reports that PK would join the Congress and continue his commercial engagement with TRS as poll strategist, and portrayed the two parties as electoral partners.
As the crowd cheered and clapped in approval, Rahul Gandhi announced that selection of party candidates for the 2024 elections would be purely on merit. Only leaders who stand by people and fight for their cause will be considered for tickets, he said. The Congress leader also made his commitment to focus on Telangana clear by announcing that he would be available to the party to take up any agitational programme at any time. "We will soon have a similar meeting to highlight tribal issues," he said.
Turning the tables on the rival parties, Rahul Gandhi said that if there is any electoral alliance in the state, it is between the TRS and the BJP. This was evident from the TRS’ open support to three "black laws" brought out by BJP-led Central government and the latter’s inaction against the rampant corruption of the Chief Minister. He wondered why the BJP would not send the Enforcement Directorate or the CBI to unearth the Chief Minister’s corruption.
Rahul Gandhi alleged that the BJP had been trying to operate Telangana through remote control and the TRS had happily been obliging. As the Congress and the BJP can never join hands, and the BJP had realised that it can’t win Telangana by replacing the Congress as the alternative, the saffron party chose to run the government from Delhi, he added.