The Congress on Monday reiterated its decision fight the general elections in Andhra Pradesh alone by contesting all the 25 Lok Sabha and 175 assembly seats and promptly drew fire from the Yuvajana Sramika Rytu Congress (YSRC) which said the decision will benefit the ruling Telugu Desam Party by splitting opposition votes.
The Congress high command had earlier announced the decision to go solo after the failed experiment of forming a Maha Kootami or grand alliance with the TDP in neighbouring Telangana last year.
Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president N. Raghuveera Reddy announced the party’s decision after a meeting of the party coordination committee which also constituted the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) with 32 members, campaign committee with 29 members and media coordination committee with 20 members.
The coordination committee meeting took place in the presence of AICC in charge of Andhra, Oomen Chandy.
Raghuveera Reddy said the party has received a good number of applications for the Lok Sabha and assembly seats from the aspirants. “After vetting the applications, the party will announce candidates for state and parliament elections shortly,” he said.
Chandy had conveyed the party high command’s decision not to have an alliance with TDP and to go alone to state party leaders in January. Miffed with this decision, a few party seniors like Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy had quit the party.
Asked about the bonhomie between Congress and TDP at Centre but fighting individually in Andhra, Congress spokesman Dronam Srinivas said, “It’s a need of hour for a united fight by opposition at the Centre against the NDA’s misrule. But the state level tie-ups is a localised issue varying from state to state in keeping with ground realities.”
YSR Congress senior leader Buggana Rajendranath Reddy alleged that the grand old party’s “go-it-alone” decision is only aimed at benefiting N Chandrababu Naidu’s party by splitting the opposition votes.
“Naidu keeps saying it is a historical necessity to put up joint struggle with Congress to unseat the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it sounds funny that the allies at the national level will be fighting each other in the state,” he commented.
TDP spokesman Dokka Manikya Varaprasad said his party is confident of coming back to power regardless of whether the Congress aligns with it or not.
The Congress party had been decimated in Andhra Pradesh after the state was split in two. Congress earlier had been in power for two terms in succession, but had to take the blame for the division of a united Andhra Pradesh. Its vote share reduced to 3.5 per cent and party candidates failed to retain deposits in most Parliament and assembly seats in the previous election. Srinivas, however, asserted that the popular base of his party in the state has shored up after party president Rahul Gandhi promised special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
Poola Vikram, a political analyst, said the presence of Congress in the fray as an independent entity may help Chandrababu. “The experience in Telangana where the grand alliance experiment flopped due to failure to transfer of votes in the assembly election in December 2018 might have forced the TDP and the Congress to opt out of alliance,” he observed.
First Published: Feb 11, 2019 21:41 IST