Several leaders, including Union Ministers, were conspicuous by their absence at the broad-based meeting of the Andhra Congress Committee at the Lal Bahadur stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday. Prominent among them were Union Minister S. Jaipal Reddy and V. Kishore Chandra Deo, MPs Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Rayapati Sambasiva Rao and G. Harsha Kumar as also former Minister K. Venkat Reddy.

T-leaders upset

The meeting witnessed slogan shouting more than once by leaders and activists, of course, for different reasons. Supporters of separate Telangana raised Jai Telangana slogans when their MPs were denied entry on to the dais by the police. The pro-Telangana activists and leaders were also upset that the proceedings commenced without paying formal tributes to youth who committed suicides for separate State.

Show stealer

Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar appeared the star performer among the Telangana leaders, as his speech was a hit with the party workers from the region who continuously raised slogans. Every sentence he spoke drew wide applause from the cadres, as also those hailing from the BC communities.

Of cut-outs and photos

Followers of Union Minister K. Chiranjeevi too raised slogans against the organisers, albeit for a different reason. They were upset that cut-outs and posters of their leader were absent at the venue although some speakers appreciated his decision to merge the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party with the Congress.

In yet another instance, the supporters of Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Rajanarsimha were angered over the absence of their leader’s picture on the material relating to welfare schemes being implemented in the State. The absence of the photograph was more than compensated as speaker after speaker took care to give credit to Mr. Rajanarsimha in the enactment of the SC/ST Sub Plan Bill.

No talk of YSR

Speakers preferred to talk less about the contribution of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Barring stray reference, no leader dared to mention his name. While leaders went all out against the TDP, they appeared reluctant to criticise the YSR Congress Party and their leaders.

Anjan raises BC issue

Secunderabad MP Anjan Kumar Yadav was vocal in stating that backward classes were getting a raw deal in the Congress and sought to know whether he was not eligible to be a Minister. Some leaders were trying to suppress BCs in the party but he asserted that they would rebound with every such attempt.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said the Congress would do more and talk less about welfare schemes unlike the other parties who do vice versa. He said their party would do what it tells and would tell what it could do.

Photographers barred

The camera crews of news channels and photographers were barred from the meeting so as to ensure that contentious issues like the statehood for Telangana are not highlighted.

Former Congress Working Committee member G. Venkataswamy made an appearance at the convention to say that he was hale and healthy. Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy and several others enquired about his health.