New Delhi: When the newly-constituted Congress Working Committee (CWC) holds its first meeting in poll-bound Telangana's Hyderabad on September 16-17, it will be following in the footsteps of its illustrious opponent, Bharatiya Janata Party. Seeing the potential to grow in Telangana, the BJP had also selected the city for holding its national executive last year.
While having opposing views on most issues, the two national political parties have seemed to have built a consensus on at least one issue, that there is an immense possibility of growth in this southern Indian state.
The top leadership of the two parties have identified the state where the position of the principal opposition party is up for grabs. Hence, the aggressive attempts by these political units to try and provide an alternative to Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao.
This would be the first meeting of the CWC under the leadership of Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and will be attended by CWC members, permanent and special invitees. And like the BJP, the Congress too feels that Telangana’s ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi may face a leadership vacuum as its second-rung leadership isn’t considered up to the task. There is a thought that KCR’s apparent political heirs, son KT Rama Rao and daughter K Kavitha, aren’t up to the rigours of the demanding political career.
The importance that the party attaches to securing a victory in Telangana can be gauged from the fact that the Congress selected the state to hold the CWC despite not having a government in Telangana.
Hyderabad was chosen instead of any state where the Congress is in power as the leadership of the grand old party feels that the meeting could help ensure the morale of Congress cadre is high ahead of Assembly polls scheduled for later this year.
The CWC meeting will be attended by the PCC presidents, office bearers of the Congress Parliamentary Party and the Congress Legislative Party leaders. Keeping an eye on the polls, a show of strength in the form of a massive public rally in Hyderabad has also been planned ensuring the convergence of top party leadership into the state.
The rally has been organized to coincide with the liberation day of Hyderabad, on September 17. The Congress is also expected to announce five guarantees to the people of the state, on the lines of its successful campaigns in Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge will officially launch the party’s electoral campaign by flagging off cavalcades of party leaders to 119 assembly constituencies of Telangana, where they will hold public contact programs.
The Congress leadership also feels that the BJP has lost its Telangana advantage as saffron leaders are fighting for dominance within the party, leading to widespread factionalism. Though the BJP had a lot of hopes from the southern state, a battle of dominance between leaders is likely to adversely affect its performance in the forthcoming Legislative Assembly polls.
Recently Bandi Sanjay was replaced as the party president after months of faceoff with senior leader Eatala Rajender. The BJP, which was trying to emerge as an alternative to K Chandrashekar Rao has seemingly squandered its advantage in Telangana by allowing senior leaders to indulge in these political battles.
With the BJP battling inner friction, the grand old party is trying desperately to emerge as a serious contender in the battle for the 119-member Legislative Assembly. The recent win in Karnataka has also boosted the sentiments within the Congress regarding its performance in Telangana polls scheduled for later this year. With weeks to go for polls, the CWC meeting in Hyderabad this weekend will be keenly watched as Congress tries to create a strategy to regain the state which it had controlled for several decades.