Kerala’s former chief minister Oommen Chandy, who has been made in-charge of the party Andhra Pradesh affairs, finds the most popular Special Category Status (SCS) demand to the State as lifeline for the State and the party as well. In his first-ever visit to the State after he was given the charge of the party affairs here, Chandy found that only the SCS demand for the State can help the party revive, after its debacle in the 2014 elections.
“We have divided the State with some good intention and for good reason. But the way the bifurcation was carried out caused anger of the people of this part. It has to be cooled now and the State has to be put on development path. All this is possible only if the SCS demand is fulfilled,” Chandy had reportedly told the party leaders in the State.
Congress had been raising its voice for the SCS despite its humiliating defeat in the 2014 elections. APCC president Raghuveera Reddy was in the forefront in leading the party on the SCS demand and keeping the demand and the party alive for the past four years. The signature campaign, cases against the Prime Minister and the rallies in Delhi are some of his initiatives in the last four years to keep the demand and the party alive. Now, he has the support of the State in-charge, who realised that SCS is the only issue that can help in the party’s revival.
Chandy is busy meeting the party leaders and is scheduled to address the party AP executive committee on Wednesday. Though initially he had called the party leaders who left the party to come back, he is now trying to strengthen the party from grassroots taking new leadership. He had directed the APCC chief to identify the new leaders from the booth level to the district level and give them a chance to play key role in rebuilding the party.
It might take a few months for the party to have new leaders playing active role, but this being the election year, the party feels that gearing up the new leadership is also part of the election strategy. But, the bigger task for the Congress now in AP is to get back its vote bank which is now with the YSR Congress. It is for this reason, the party believes that SCS would help them as the TDP and BJP have failed and the YSR Congress had not done enough work to put pressure on the TDP-BJP combine to get the SCS for the State. As the three parties have failed on this front, the Congress wants to project itself and the promise of Rahul Gandhi, to get back the vote bank.
Time will tell us whether the voters will come back to the Congress or stay with the YSR Congress.