Amid speculation that the Congress is all set to have an electoral alliance with the Telugu Desam Party in the two Telugu States, AICC general secretary and in-charge of Andhra Pradesh, Oommen Chandy, had ruled out the possibility. He had categorically stated that the party’s first priority was to strengthen its base in the State ahead of the elections.
As part of this exercise, Chandy, who is a two-time chief minister of Kerala, started holding district-wise meetings in the State. He is locked up in such meetings of 13 districts till July 31, touring every district on every day. He is interacting with the party workers and senior leaders from the respective district and encouraging them to become active and revive the party. He is also inviting the former leaders of the party who have either become inactive or being part of another party.
The party is now busy picking up names to form the election booth level committees across the 175 Assembly constituencies in the State. While the party leaders are finding it difficult to find men for the booth level committees, the leaders are working hard to convince the party former leaders to come back.
Meanwhile, a section of the leaders are in favour of the party having an alliance with Jana Sena and the two Left parties. They are mounting pressure on the party leadership to forge alliance now and ensure that the anti-incumbency vote remained undivided. The Congress leaders in the State are also looking at getting some benefit from the mass following of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan, as the party had lost its base at the grassroots.
However, the party high command is in favour of having an alliance with the Telugu Desam in the two States. Sources in the Congress say that Rahul Gandhi is looking towards Chandrababu Naidu as a potential ally after the 2019 elections to keep the BJP out of power. It is for this reason Rahul prefers Chandrababu Naidu.
The party leaders said that they are now busy rebuilding the party from the village level and would focus on elections only after the election schedule is announced.