Congress president Sonia Gandhi set to play ‘Amma’ card in Telangana

1:48 PM, Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

sonia-gandhiNew Delhi:The Congress is banking on the popularity of former party president Sonia Gandhi to dislodge the TRS government in Telangana which is scheduled to go to polls in the next few months.

Sonia may address a few rallies in the state where the Congress has sprung up a surprise by aligning with the TDP, CPI and a regional outfit to take on TRS supremo and Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who caught the Opposition unawares by calling for a snap poll.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi met leaders from Telangana to get an update on the political situation in the state on Saturday. Most of the 38 leaders who met Rahul – first one-on-one meetings and then as a group – told him that the Congress stood a bright chance to win the state elections as there was considerable anger against the TRS government.

A senior leader told DH that there is tremendous goodwill for the Congress in Telangana as the party had fulfilled the long-standing demand for a separate state.

“Soniaji is revered in the state as ‘Sonia Amma’ and even TRS leaders are wary about speaking against her,” the senior leader said, adding that the Congress was planning to organise rallies across the state to be addressed by Sonia. “It would happen closer to the elections,” the leader said.

In the 2014 elections, the TRS won 63 of the 119 seats, cashing in on the sentiment of the newly carved Telangana state. The Congress came a distant second with 22 seats and the TDP-BJP coalition won 20 seats. The AIMIM emerged victorious on seven seats.

However, over the years, the TRS improved its tally to 90 seats by weaning away most of the TDP, YSR Congress and Independent MLAs.

While announcing the dissolution of the state Assembly on September 6, the chief minister also released a list of 105 TRS candidates, which has led to dissent within the outfit. The Congress believes that many who have been denied tickets by the chief minister could queer the pitch for the TRS.

However, the Congress, too, is beset with internal rumblings with a section strongly opposed to state unit chief Uttam Kumar Reddy. At the Saturday meeting, Rahul made it clear that Uttam would continue to lead the party and asked other leaders to fight the polls unitedly.

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