Change of guard in Telangana: Key decision by Sonia Gandhi



It was a sudden and unexpected decision on the part of Congress president Sonia Gandhi who on August 1 relieved senior leader and All India General Secretary Digvijaya Singh of Telangana party affairs. In a release , Janardhan  Dwivedi, AICC Organisational  Secretary, said  that AICC secretary  and former MP  R  C Khuntia  was  made  full-fledged in charge of Telangana  and would  be  assisted by former Karnataka  Minister and  AICC secretary  Satish Jarikholi. Digvijaya Singh is still the in charge of AP Congress affairs. It means the  Congress  leadership wants to have  two  persons  to  monitor the  affairs of  the  party in  two  Telugu  states. It is reported that Digvijaya Singh himself wanted to be relieved of the Telangana responsibility as he was planning to undertake Narmada Parikrama Padyatra in his home state of Madhya Pradesh. Whatever may be the reason of this decision, the driving force is that Sonia Gandhi is now determined to strengthen the party in every state in  view of the fact that the opposition was weakened by the Bihar  Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar’s decision to join  hands with the BJP  and thus  to destroy the Grand Alliance.

Digvijaya  Singh had  been holding the  in charge post of  AP  and then  both  Telugu  states for more  than  four years. As a matter of fact he played a key role in  the bifurcation of the  state. Sonia Gandhi was  the  Messiah of  Telangana, but  the Congress  failed  to  project this image in the 2014 elections  and the  TRS leader succeeded  to surge ahead. With the majority  seats, he formed  the government and the Congress  could  not  convince the  people  that it was  Sonia Gandhi  who facing all odds took  the decision to create  a new state. Now it is the story of the downfall of the Congress. After bifurcation, many senior Congress leaders joined the ruling TRS. Neither the state leadership nor the in charge of the party affairs could do anything to stop the  flow towards the ruling party. Telangana was second in the number of farmers who committed  suicides and  in Khammam protesting farmers were hand-cuffed.

The Congress could not capitalize on this and other issues. Dalits protested against the sand mafia but they were suppressed by the brutal police force. Neither the state leadership nor the party in charge could highlight the issue.  Meira Kumar, the former speaker of the Lok Sabha, and the opposition Presidential candidate, visited Sircilla and highlighted the issue. It is reported that Meira Kumar’s briefing to the Congress leadership about the party affairs in Telangana was instrumental for the sudden change in Telangana. It is also worth mentioning that earlier Digvijaya Singh was relieved of his party responsibility in Goa and Karnataka. In every case, the party leadership seems to be determined to strengthen the grassroot support of the party. Congress hopes the new in charge and the state leadership will leave no stone unturned to come up to the expectation of the party High Command.


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