Home / Politics / Policy /  Lack of strong leadership leaves Congress at crossroads in Telangana

In the absence of a strong local leader, the Congress in Telangana seems to be losing ground as the main opposition in the state to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Thanks to infighting, senior party leaders, who have been staking claim to state leadership, have been unable to concur on a host of issues. Aggravating the situation has been a steady loss of party leaders to BJP and the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

On Tuesday, Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) working president and Member of Parliament A. Revanth Reddy met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, sparking rumours that he could be in the race for the TPCC president post.

Other senior leaders from the state such as former Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumanth Rao have also also staked his claim for the post, currently held by Nalgonda MP N. Uttam Kumar Reddy.

“As of now, there is no clarity on the leadership, and even I have no idea about who is going to be given that responsibility. But we are conducting our review meetings for the upcoming municipal elections," said a senior Congress leader, who did not want to be quoted.

A TRS leader, who left the Congress in March, said the BJP was slowly becoming the main challenger due to a weak Congress. “That is the reality and hence I shifted," he added.

The Congress in Telangana managed to wrest three seats in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won four, while the TRS, which thought it would win most of the 17 seats, was restricted to nine. However, soon after, 12 Congress MLAs, of the 18, defected to TRS, shocking the state Congress leadership. Other senior leaders like former cabinet minister D. K. Aruna, Ponguleti Sudhar Reddy, and others also jumped ship to the BJP.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesperson from Telangana Sravan Dasoju, however, has refused to concede that his party has weakened in the state. “The BJP has no cadre in the ground and those who defected to it from the Congress will not add any value to them," he said.

Political analyst Palwai Raghavendra Reddy believes that the Congress in Telangana is in bad shape at present, having failed to keep up momentum despite three Lok Sabha seats in 2019. “It managed to win three seats while nothing was expected, and that was a decent performance as some of its leaders had quit before the polls. The Congress is not acting like the main opposition," he said.

Reddy also pointed out that union home minister Amit Shah and BJP national president J. P. Nadda had visited the state recently, highlighting how serious the BJP central leadership is about the state. “Shah has found time to visit Hyderabad in spite of his responsibilities. Have any of the Congress’s national leaders visited after the Lok Sabha elections? If this goes on, then people will forget that there is a party called the Congress in Telanghana," he remarked.

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