Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has proved once again that he is too clever by half. His remarks on the TRS at Kanyakumari would nullify the positive effect of the Kisan Rally addressed by Rahul Gandhi at Warangal on May 6. The senior leader commented that the TRS might cooperate with the Congress in coming days. This is exactly what the BJP would like to hear.
There have been allegations galore in Telangana which has always been in election mode. The BJP leader Bandi Sanjay says that the Congress and the TRS are on the same page and, in addition, TRS has links with Razakars too. PCC president Revanth Reddy keeps on repeating that the BJP is B-team of the TRS. TRS leaders say the BJP and the Congress have some secret understanding. Common people are confused with contradictory statement made by the leaders of three parties.
Revanth Reddy has already been facing a lot of problems from within. Many senior leaders in the party are reportedly in league with the TRS. They have personal relationship with Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR). Revanth’s credibility is sought to be demolished by his own party men who say that he is TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s mole in their party and hence could not be trusted. Revanth Reddy who imbibed some dynamism in the party cadres soon after he took over the PCC reins is at a loss to understand as to how he should deal with his critics within the party who have connections in Delhi. Many of those who opposed his nomination as PCC Chief are in touch with the TRS leadership.
If the Congress loses the Munugode by-election, which is likely, the party would be slipping into third position. Presently, despite a lot of noise being made by local BJP leaders or Amit Shahs and Naddas from Delhi, BJP has not overtaken the Congress in popularity. The Congress has a solid 20 percent of popular vote in Telangana. In spite of some leaders such as Rajagopal Reddy and Dasoju Sravan Kumar deserting it, the party’s vote share is intact. It would get a booster with Rahul’s walkathon. Moreover, Palvai Sravanthi, the Congress candidate in the by-poll, is the best one can think of. Munugode happens to be a Congress seat. But the perception game being played by the BJP would go in its favour even if it emerges as the second best party after TRS in Munugode. The BJP is keen on establishing itself as the second most powerful party in Telangana before beating the TRS. First the Congress has to be eliminated as the principal challenger to the TRS. Then even if the party gets a good second position in 2023 elections, it can manage to form a government by pulling MLAs out of TRS or Congress or both. It had done in Goa, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. It is not a big issue.
There is a general feeling growing among the people that there is no use voting for the Congress since there is no guarantee that the Congress MLAs would not jump on to TRS bandwagon after getting elected. Majority of the Congress MLAs elected in 2018 joined the TRS and some of them are ministers in KCR cabinet. There was no protest by the Congressmen or civil society when the worthies left the party on whose ticket they contested and won. According to public wisdom, if anyone is keen on defeating the TRS, he or she would better vote for the BJP than the Congress. Similarly, anyone bent upon preventing the BJP from coming to power in Telangana should vote for TRS since it is the ruling party with the wherewithal to continue in power somehow or other. There is a talk, which is not so widespread, that KCR’s antics against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi are part of a drama whose script was jointly written by Modi and KCR. The frequency and intensity of attacks mounted against the BJP and Modi by KCR, KTR and Harish Rao almost on daily basis would dispel doubts that there could be a secret understanding between the BJP and TRS. There are, however, some people who believe in that ‘game plan’ theory.
Rahul Gandhi was categorical at Warangal meeting on the ties the Congress has or would have with the TRS which was attacked by him in no uncertain terms. He asked those Congress leaders who were keen on some understanding with the TRS to leave the party. He was very curt and clear in his message about the TRS. Digvijay Singh’s statement, on the other hand, strengthens the suspicion and the BJP’s argument that the Congress is non-serious as far as opposing the TRS is concerned. It would make Revanth Reddy’s job more difficult. Comments by important central leaders suggesting that the TRS is likely to support the Congress at the Centre in case of a UPA-3 becoming a possibility would water down the challenge posed by the party in Telangana. Digvijay Singh was so credulous that he suggested a reconciliation with Jagan Mohan Reddy, YSRCP chief and AP chief minister, since the latter happens to be the son of YS Rajasekhara Reddy, a quintessential Congressman. Like Karna in Mahabharat, the Congress in Telangana is cursed on many counts. Digvijay Singh’s statement is the latest.
Since Rahul is going to walk in Telangana for many days, it would help the Congress if he reiterates his Warangal Declaration whenever an occasion arises or he should create an occasion to make the stand of the Congress vis-a-vis the TRS abundantly clear. Rahul should also ask seniors like Digvijay and Chidambaram not to make loose statements which have potential to damage the party in States.