The ticket distribution in Telangana made it very clear that the party leaders don’t value its cadre and its long-time loyalists anymore. Of late, Congress in Telangana is acting more like a desperate sub-regional party yielding to the pressures of its regional allies and parties that are yet to contest their 1st election.
The official party positions have become a joke with Bandla Ganesh becoming the official spokesperson. Not to forget the two recent working president appointments, Jetti Kusum Kumar, who made only because the party couldn’t accommodate a single ticket to the Kamma community. And Revanth Reddy, who clearly could strong-arm the Party at his will. Longtime loyalists like Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Marri Shasidhar Reddy, and V. Hanumantha Rao being humiliated for assembly tickets, the party cadre clearly has lost the trust on the high command. Many feel that loyalty to Gandhi family and party are not enough to be something in the Congress. Dealers like Dr Ramchander Rao, the same caste as Telangana CM KCR and long-time friend of late YSR seem to be calling the shots.
One of the party members said he could have understood seniors being by denied tickets had those decisions were made based on the candidate’s winnability, but he could never stomach the fact that every candidate in the CM race being distanced its TPCC president Uttam.
Recent events in the state party prove such concerns are not far from being true. Congress ditching its own family by denying seats to Patolla Karthik Reddy, Son of Ex Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, who is now contesting as an independent from Ibrahimpatnam and Marri Shashidhar Reddy a 4-time MLA who reportedly had offers from two other parties decided not to go against the party MSR is totally neglected by the state Congress. It has to be noted that MSR, Son of Former two-time Chief Minister of the combined state, Dr Marri Channa Reddy, has always put party ahead of his political gains and his son’s political future. Denying a ticket to him after a misinformation movement based on tailored surveys by PCC President Uttam Reddy, without even discussing with him is something the party should be ashamed of.
Deliberate attempts of distancing Komatreddy Brothers and Jana Reddy and the last-minute drama in ticket distribution add weight to the recent allegations on Bhakta Charandas demanding 3 Crores from the candidates for tickets and to the allegations on Uttam favoring the TRS chief KCR. The only silver lining is this time you know who to blame instead of Rahul Gandhi for Congress defeat if they lose.
Though the alliance with TDP could have garnered support from backward sections, with BC leaders like D Srinivas, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and V Hanumantha Rao either being forced out or being sidelined and likes of DK Aruna who could become the X-factor in party’s victory being suffocated, it looks like Congress party lost a golden opportunity. And losing its minority leaders like Abid Rasool Khan and Khaleequr Rahman had added salt to the wounds inflicted by TPCC Chief Uttam and In-charge Khuntia.
Irrespective of the election results, this 2019 assembly election is costing Congress a fortune and the distrust created among its core supporters and, longtime loyalists are beyond recoverable. Now the party should at least save its face by bringing likes Marri Shashidhar Reddy and Hanumantha Rao into the foray of election campaigning.
It is time Congress trusts the leaders who gave everything to the party, it’s time they depend on the mass image of their tallest leader like Marri Chenna Reddy who still has immense respect among its cadre and Telangana public.