Launching a fierce attack on TRS chief and caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday accused him of running a “family rule” in Telangana and “failing” to respond to the aspirations of people of the state. Both Sonia and Rahul were addressing an election rally at Medchal on the outskirts of the city. Apart from the Congress, other alliance partners like TDP, Telangana Jana Samiti and CPI shared the dais to intensify its poll campaign days ahead of the crucial assembly elections across the state. It was Sonia's maiden visit to Telangana after the formation of the state in June 2014.
Recalling the problems, the Congress faced due to its decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, the former party president said despite being aware of adverse political consequences, the Congress went ahead and created Telangana, and paid the price in the elections that followed.
“It (carving out Telangana) was not an easy task. It was no small decision. But former prime minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party decided to form Telangana state,” Sonia as quoted as saying during the rally.
The Congress intends to use its role in the creation of Telangana as a major election plank to blunt Rao’s claim that a protracted agitation led by him forced the Centre’s hand. The decision to field Sonia Gandhi, who has hardly addressed an election meeting in a long time, apparently stemmed from the Congress’s desire to appeal to the pro-Telangana sentiments of the voters.
Accusing KCR of turning a blind eye to the welfare of the state, the senior Congress leader further said, “Chief Minister Rao has cared only for himself and his own people leaving the child (Telangana) to suffer", adding that "Adivasis, minorities, backward classes, women and students were all neglected".
Mothers know how important it is to look after a newborn baby. It is unfortunate that after the birth of Telangana, your responsibility fell into the hands of those who cared for themselves, but not for you: UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi in Medchal. #TelanganaElections2018 pic.twitter.com/ll3RPIVfgg— ANI (@ANI) November 23, 2018
"The chief minister should tell us what promises he made to them and he kept," the UPA chairperson reiterated. Farmer suicides were taking place and agriculturists were still facing water scarcity, she went on to claim further.
“The TRS government failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people of the state,” she said, adding it did not implement the land acquisition law enacted by the UPA government.
The people did not reap full benefit of the UPA dispensation’s flagship rural employment scheme MNREGA under Rao’s government, Gandhi said.
“Through this meeting I appeal to you to vote for the Congress and allied parties, and ensure their victory. Extend your support for the development of Telangana,” she said even as she reaffirmed the Congress party’s commitment to special category status for Andhra Pradesh.
Rahul, on the other hand, attacked Chandrasekhar Rao, saying “only one man ran Telangana for the last five years. He did whatever came to his mind for his family”.
The Congress chief said his party had formed an alliance with the TDP, CPI and the TJS and will provide jobs to the unemployed youth and address the problems of the suffering farmers across the state.
"The alliance government will work for the people and not for one person. The dreams for which you fought (for creation of Telangana) the CM did not fulfil. This alliance with fulfil them,” the Gandhi scion said.
When people of Telangana dreamed of forming the state, it was Sonia Gandhi Ji who stood by the people. If Telangana was formed, it was the public who formed it with their sweat and blood. Sonia Gandhi Ji also had a hand in its formation: Rahul Gandhi in Medchal. #Telangana pic.twitter.com/pZ8Di4NgVf— ANI (@ANI) November 23, 2018
Talking about other key developments in the rally, Lok Sabha member Konda Vishweshwar Reddy, who quit the TRS a few days ago citing “disappointment” with the party leadership, formally joined the Congress this evening.
Though TDP president and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was not present in the rally, Telangana unit chief L Ramana represented his party. Besides, CPI state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy and TJS chief M Kodandaram also took part in the rally.
(With inputs from agencies)