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In Telangana Battle, It’s ‘Mother’ Sonia Gandhi vs ‘Father’ Chandrashekar Rao

When Sonia Gandhi takes the election dais in Telangana on Friday, she is expected to counter KCR’s claims of being the ‘creator’ of the state.

D P Satish | News18dp_satish

Updated:November 21, 2018, 2:38 PM IST
In Telangana Battle, It’s ‘Mother’ Sonia Gandhi vs ‘Father’ Chandrashekar Rao
File photos of Sonia Gandhi and K Chandrashekar Rao.

Hyderabad: It is now ‘father’ of Telangana versus ‘mother’ of Telangana as India’s newest state goes to polls. Congress-led alliance ‘Mahakutami’ is banking on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to counter Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao who claims he is the real ‘creator’ of Telangana.

A few weeks after he took charge of the new-born state in June 2014, Rao, or KCR as he is known, had stated on the floor of the Assembly that everyone must remember that Sonia Gandhi had fully backed the creation of Telangana and made it a reality.

But as he strengthened his grip over both party and government, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) started claiming that KCR alone created Telangana, dismissing any counterclaims.

The Congress, whose calculations went wrong in the 2014 Assembly elections, is now trying to make amends by playing the Sonia card in elections.

The former Congress president is scheduled to address only one public meeting during the campaigning for five Assembly elections. The party has picked Telangana to claim credit for fulfilling the statehood demand.

Sonia Gandhi will be addressing a mega public meeting at Medchal near Hyderabad on Friday. She is expected to launch an attack on KCR for claiming full credit for the creation of Telangana.

KCR had revived the Telangana movement with help from Sonia Gandhi in 2013 and convinced her that the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh was imminent despite stiff opposition from several top leaders of the Congress.

After a shock defeat in 2014, the Congress was quiet in Telangana for almost three years, but has been making some noise in the last one and a half years. Its cadre are now countering the TRS, saying it was Sonia who created Telangana while KCR was just claiming credit.

“Sonia Gandhi is the mother of Telangana. We have a state because of her. KCR is not the creator. The entire world knows that. We will definitely come to power this time. People want to vote out KCR,” said N Uttam Kumar Reddy, Telangana state Congress president.

The TRS has rubbished the claims, saying that it was KCR who led a two-decade long movement for Telangana and that the Congress-led UPA had no other option but to create a new state.

The YSR Factor

Telangana is also witnessing another strange electoral phenomenon. The ‘Mahakutami’ alliance is invoking the name of the late YS Rajashekhara Reddy, whose son Jagan Mohan Reddy is fighting against both the Congress and the TDP.

Many Congress candidates are also invoking the names of several popular schemes initiated by YSR during his regime between 2004 and 2009. Some are even using his pictures in the poll materials to woo voters.

The Congress claims that YSR was a Congressman till his untimely death and one of the tallest leaders of the party in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Interestingly, his son’s YSR Congress Party is not contesting the Telangana elections. Most of the YSRCP votes are likely to go to the Congress as his main votebanks are Reddys, minorities and SC/STs.

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| Edited by: Nitya Thirumalai
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