Congress' nod to Telangana leaves Andhra government divided

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 02, 2013 08:32 IST
  • Anti Telanga protestors

    Anti-Telanga protestors gather for a protest after UPA endorsed the creation of Telangana in Ananthapur, Andhra Pradesh. (AP photo)

  • Anti-Telangana protestors

    Policemen throw stones at anti-Telangana protestors in Ananthapur, Andhra Pradesh. AP photo

  • Anti-Telangana protestors

    A statue of former PM Rajiv Gandhi lies on a road after being vandalized by anti-Telangana protestors in Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh. (AP photo)

  • Anti-Telangana protesters

    Anti-Telangana protesters vandalize a traffic policeman's platform in Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh. (AP Photo)

  • Anti-Telangana activists

    Activists tear down a statue of former PM Rajiv Gandhi as they demonstrate against the formation of Telangana state in Ananthapur. AFP photo

  • Anti-Telangana protests

    Security officers use batons to charge at a man protesting after UPA endorsed the formation of Telangana. (AP photo)

  • Anti-Telangana protests

    Security men try to disperse people protesting after UPA endorsed the creation of Telangana. (AP photo)

  • Anti-Telangana protests

    People perform mock cremation of UPA chief Sonia Gandhi during a protest against the creation of separate Telangana state in Vishakhapatnam. PTI photo

  • Anti-Telangana protests

    Police arresting demonstrators during a protest against the creation of separate Telangana state in Vishakhapatnam. PTI photo

By conceding Telangana’s statehood demand, the Congress may have gained a decisive edge over its political rivals in the new state, but the party appears to have lost ground in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions.

The broad thinking in the Congress is that the party will reap rich dividends in the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Telangana while the YSR Congress could do well in Andhra Pradesh as it has strong pockets of influence in both the regions.

Congress managers are confident that YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy will not join hands with either the BJP or its arch-rival Telugu Desam Party (TDP). “Reddy has no option but to align with us in the state and at the Centre. He cannot join hands with communal forces,” a Congress leader said. Read: 15 legislators from Cong and Seemandhra minister resign

On its part, the YSR Congress has consistently maintained that the party cannot go with the BJP for ideological reasons.

Indications coming from the YSR Congress camp are that Reddy is not averse to doing business with the Congress after the 2014 polls to keep the BJP out of power.

YSR Congress leaders do not rule out a tie-up between the TDP and the BJP, citing N Chandrababu Naidu’s decision to provide outside support to the BJP-led NDA government from 1998 to 2004.

Andhra Pradesh had helped the Congress regain power at the Centre in 2004 and then retain it in 2009. While the party won 29 of the 42 seats in 2004, the tally increased to 33 in 2009. The Congress also won the state elections in 2004 and 2009.

While Telangana will account for 17 MPs and 119 legislators, coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema have 25 parliamentary seats and 175 assembly constituencies.

Though the Congress has decided to initiate the process of creating Telangana, the party is keen to include two Rayalaseema districts — Kurnool and Ananthapur — in the new state. Read: No taker for new Andhra?

The move will not only divide the number of Lok Sabha constituencies equally (21 each) but also check the YSR Congress and the TDP in Rayalaseema.


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