Watch Sonia connect with Telangana voters; tide appears to turn in Congress favour

For the first time since she helped carve out Telangana state, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi addressed a mammoth crowd. If the crowd’s response is anything to go by, the tide seems to be turning

NH Photo
NH Photo

KV Lakshmana

For the first time since she helped carve out Telangana state out of Andhra Pradesh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday, November 23, became a tad emotional addressing a mammoth gathering at Medchal to canvass support for the Mahakootami for the December 7 general elections to the assembly. Medchal is 35 km from Hyderabad.

If the crowd response and enthusiasm was any indication to the presence of the person who was instrumental in creating the separate state of Telangana, the tide appears to be turning for the Congress and its alliance partners. The moment she arrived on the dais, people were craning their necks for a look and getting restless when Telangana Congress leader Uttam Kumar Reddy requested them to maintain calm as she was just about to stand up and speak to them.

The crowds were waiting patiently for Sonia Gandhi and did not mind the one-hour delay in her arrival.

Present on the dais at the Medchal rally when Sonia Gandhi came calling, along with AICC president Rahul Gandhi, were representatives of the alliance partners – Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Jana Samithi and the CPI. Revolutionary bard Gaddar rendered a poem in praise of the Congress leader, who touched an emotional chord with the audience that kept shouting slogans.

Especially when Sonia Gandhi mentioned the struggle for Telangana and the peoples’ fight for Neellu and Nidhulu (water and funds), the crowd went into a thunderous applause in endorsement of her statement that even today farms in Telangana were crying for water and the state starved of funds. The Congress party made many sacrifices to fulfil the wishes of the people of Telangana but was sad and shocked that the people continued to suffer at the hands of “one person and one family misrule,’ Sonia Gandhi said alluding to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his immediate family members.

Watch Sonia Gandhi speech here:

“The Congress had to face the wrath of the people, but we still divided Andhra Pradesh in the larger interests of the people of Telangana,” said Sonia Gandhi and added that “today when I see Telangana and its people, my soul cries.” In four and half years a lot of development should have happened, but it has not. Even the MNREGA scheme was neglected by the government, she said to the vigorous nods of agreement of thousands of heads from among the crowds.

What has KCR done for tribals, the students, the youth and the women, Sonia Gandhi questioned drawing thunderous applause each time she posed a question. Clearly, it is time you showed the same resolve to get a separate state to get the state on the development highway and get your demands fulfilled, Sonia Gandhi told the audience. She appealed to them that it was now their turn to think hard and vote the Congress and Mahakootami and give it a huge victory.

Contrary to the jibes from the ruling combine and the BJP, all the representatives of the Mahakootami on the dais and their cadres in the ground displayed a chemistry that bodes well for the alliance in the elections.

TJA founding president M Kodandaram decried the autocratic rule of KCR and asserted that in the last four and half years the people have not got anything. “It is good that he dissolved the assembly 9 months early. Now we can throw him out this much earlier,” the TJS president said.

AICC president Rahul Gandhi, who spoke at the end, thanked the UPA chairperson and informed the audience that it was Sonia Gandhi ji who stood by your side when you were dreaming about Telangana. “I am very proud to say that even mother Sonia ji’s hand was there along with the people’s efforts in formation of Telangana,” the AICC president Rahul Gandhi said to highlight the sentimental bondage the Congress had with Telangana.

Seemingly combative, Rahul Gandhi exuded the confidence that the TRS rule was about to end and said the Mahakootami was formed to ensure this and provide relief to the people suffering under the misrule.

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