Has the Congress party stirred a hornet’s nest? This is the view increasingly being expressed in the political circles. The party is initiating the process to finalise candidates for the assembly elections which are likely to be held early. PCC chief Uttam Kumar Reddy also declared that they are ready for elections whenever they are conducted. While the statement was good, the problems started when the party begun making serious efforts. Massive process initiated to finalise candidates for 60 seats. The party is said to have made primary list and sent it to the high command. Dissident groups threatened to come out on streets creating fears among senior leaders that the party may plunge into chaos.
Row over seat sharing
Congress plans to form an alliance with some other parties to contest 119 seats. There is no clarity on how many seats will be allotted to allies. Kodandaram’s Telangana Jana Samithi, CPI and smaller parties are ready to join hands with Congress. Congress is also trying to bring Telugu Desam into the alliance. If TDP agrees, then a sizeable number of seats will have to be given to it. There are reports that it will demand at least 20 seats. It is said that it will insist on 15 seats. The TDP will have to be given a minimum of 12 seats. Telangana Jana Samithi may demand equal number of seats. If 24 seats go to these two parties, the remaining seats will be contested by CPI and Congress. It is being said that four seats will be sufficient for CPI. Congress is planning to work out all these details before announcing candidates for 60 seats.
Lobbying for posts
As part of the preparations for assembly elections, party is making appointments for several party posts. State leaders have not got good number of party posts at the national level. They have been ignored in appointments for core committee, campaign committee and manifesto committee. They did not get representation even in Congress Working Committee. Thus only state-level party posts are remaining. Worried that injustice may be done to them even in the state, several senior leaders are rushing to Delhi. Whether they get tickets or not, they are hoping to get state-level party posts to maintain their image in their respective areas and to run the campaign.
For appointments to the new committee, they are also recommending to PCC the names of their supporters. They are requesting that for posts ranging from working president to campaign secretary, their names be considered. They are insisting on two to three state level posts in each constituency. If mass appointments are made to the posts, leaders will not feel any importance. Party is facing difficulties in deciding the nature of responsibilities to be given to the leaders.
Senior leader V. Hanumanth Rao was the first to raise the voice of dissent. He demanded that he be made the president of campaign committee of the Congress party in Telangana. He went to the extent of warning the high command that if his demand is not met, he will not keep quiet and its consequences will be serious. Senior leaders in the party believe that this post may be given to Revanth Reddy. He was said to have extracted this commitment from Rahul Gandhi at the time of joining the party. Following the objections of some senior leaders, this appointment was kept in pending. Some suggested that Revanth be made one of the working presidents of TPCC. Revanth said he would accept this post. Months have passed but he was not given even this post and because of this he is also said to be unhappy. Similarly, former deputy chief minister Damodar Rajanarasimha, who was away from party for some time, former PCC chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Komatireddy brothers all are keeping their fingers crossed. Whenever the names of the candidates are announced and posts are distributed, the number of those left out will be high. There is fear of the dissidents hitting the road. The debate has begun on whether Congress should have stirred up a hornet’s nest.