Rahul Gandhi aide blamed for all Congress’ ills

Party leaders target Koppula Raju, pin debacle on him.

Hyderabad: In the wake of the leadership crisis in the Congress at the national level, the former IAS officer and former party president Rahul Gandhi's office incharge Koppula Raju has become the centre of controversy once again.

A section of Telangana Congress leaders has been critical of Mr Raju on several issues, and some of them have even left the party because of him.

During the recent Assembly elections and later as well, he was criticised for selection of candidates and supporting one section in the party. Some Congress leaders are of the opinion that it is due to Mr Raju that the party in Telangana state is in dire straits.

AICC secretary and former MP V. Hanumantha Rao, is one of those who believes this. His main allegation is that Mr Raju deliberately created a distance between Mr Gandhi and loyalists. Mr Rao alleged that it was due to Mr Raju that he has not been able to get an appointment to meet the then party president for more than a year.

A hardcore loyalist of the Gandhi family, Mr Rao is planning to leave the party. He announced that he will take a decision after August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Sources said Mr Rao may launch a 'Rajiv BC Congress' to bring all Backward Classes onto one platform.

But Mr Raju and AICC general secretary R.C. Khuntia, the TS Congress incharge, have rubbished the allegation that a deliberate rift is being created between loyalists and the party leadership.

This has not stemmed the criticism. A senior Congress leader said that it was because of Mr Raju that Mr G. Vivek, a Congress MP, left the party and joined the TRS. He is now in the BJP.

Former Union minister Renuka Chowdary has criticised Mr Raju for interfering in TS party matters. At a party workers meeting recently she said, “The mistakes of Koppula Raju have cost the party a lot.”

Several Congress leaders who opposed the alliance with the Telugu Desam in the Assembly elections blamed Mr Raju for the alliance. A senior Congress leader who joined the BJP recently has written to Rahul Gandhi blaming Mr Raju for his exit from the party.

AICC secretary and former MLA S.A. Sampath Kumar has come out in support of Mr Raju and said Mr Raju has never interfered in party affairs but has done whatever the high command instructed him to do. He said Mr Raju played a key role in implementing several welfare schemes during the UPA regime.

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