As the Congress meeting continued, it was all about how the party, which had kept its promises even in neighbouring Karnataka, would now give the people everything they expected succinctly summarised into six key guarantees houses, plots of land, free power and bus travel, pension, agricultural investment inputs, among others which, they alleged repeatedly, the ruling BRS had failed to deliver in their nearly decade-long, two-term rule. (DC Image)
TUKKUGUDA: Exactly seventy-five years after, to the date, the Congress party pantheon from Delhi and other parts of India, put their focus on Hyderabad, and with means vastly different, but with an eerie similarity in the objectives and ends, came forth to herald a season of hope of a change of regime, of victory, and of unleashing a welfare state befitting the real reason for which they had created a separate Telangana nearly a decade ago.
The central narrative of the Vijayabheri public meeting, which saw a mammoth and jubilant crowd, was that the Congress led by its supremo Sonia Gandhi had promised Telangana way back in 2004 and had delivered it; never mind the obstacles, challenges, or the political costs paid in Andhra Pradesh.
Despite her delicate health, in her brief speech, Sonia Gandhi, or Sonia Amma, the choicest sobriquet of Congress leaders who heralded her thus in their speeches, stressed upon the crux of it, saying, "You wanted Telangana and I, and my colleagues in Congress, played a crucial role is giving it to you. Now, I ask you for something – will you support the Congress and bring it to power, so we can fulfil all your dreams?"
The crowd, reportedly of several lakhs of people in attendance, cheered and waved, to express their instantaneous concurrence.
Mrs Gandhi, after formally launching the six guarantees, only rendered the first one, Maha Lakshmi, "…for my dear sisters…", Rs 2,500 pension per month for every lady, gas cylinder supplied to every home at Rs 500 and free TSRTC bus travel for women anywhere in the state, left the gathering to a thunderous applause.
As the Congress meeting continued, it was all about how the party, which had kept its promises even in neighbouring Karnataka, would now give the people everything they expected – succinctly summarised into six key guarantees – houses, plots of land, free power and bus travel, pension, agricultural investment inputs, among others – which, they alleged repeatedly, the ruling BRS had failed to deliver in their nearly decade-long, two-term rule.
Speakers earlier in the evening, Md. Shabbir Ali, MLA Seethakka, CLP leader Mallu Vikramarka Bhatti, Chief Ministers Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu (Himachal Pradesh) and Ashok Gehlot (Rajasthan), and MP Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, all stressed upon the combined tactics of the ruling BJP and BRS, in unison, working to scuttle the changes of the Congress party, but the people of Telangana, as demonstrated by the massive crowd, had made up their mind to bring in change, vote out the failed government of BRS and bring in the Congress into power.
Speaking after Mrs Gandhi left, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and senior leader Rahul Gandhi, stressed upon the similarities in the autocratic and cronyism supporting attitudes of PM Narendra Modi and CM K. Chandrashekara Rao, as opposed to ability, intent, willingness and track record of the Congress party to deliver allround welfare.
Mr Kharge said, "consider the contrasting records of government. We deliver what we guarantee. We fought for India’s independence. We freed Hyderabad and merged it into India. We delivered a separate Telangana. But neither Narendra Modi nor KCR deliver on what they promise."
Mr Gandhi, while explaining the other five guarantees – Indira Amma housing plan of Rs 5,00,000 for each homeless family, Rs 250 square yard plot for everyone who fought for Telangana agitation, Rs 4,000 per month pension for senior citizens, Rs 15,000 per acre per year Rythu Bharosa, which would also include Rs 12,000 for tenant farmers and workers (Kovulu Ruthulu), free power supply of up to 200 units for households and Rs 5,00,000 for students for their college or tuition fee – asked people to visit, or talk to people of Karnataka to see how we have delivered."
The very day a Congress government takes oath in Telangana, in the first cabinet meeting itself, we will start delivering on all these promises, he promised. He earlier also said his mother, Sonia Gandhi, was a lady who he knew would never break a promise, no matter how hard or challenging it was.
MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and former MP Madhu Yashki Goud interpreted the Hindi speeches of the Gandhis, and Mr Kharge, respectively.
Earlier, the crowd erupted with joy, when, after a short wait, the contingent of seniors, led by Sonia Gandhi, along with Rahul Gandhi, AICC president Mallikarjun Kharge and TPCC president A. Revanth Reddy arrived on stage and walked on a perpendicular ramp protruding into the crowd, waving to the ecstatically cheering sea of people.
The most thunderous of cheers was reserved for PCC chief Revanth Reddy when he spoke of how the BJP and BRS had made it impossible for them to get a government ground to conduct a meeting, but how poor farmers lent them their land to conduct Vijayabheri.
"You, the people of Telangana, have decided to bring Congress to power. This gathering here is proof that in a few months, we will be able to bring in a government which will bring all your dreams to fruition," he said.
And as the energy peaked, so did their hopes.