Holds consultations with Telangana and Seemandhra Congress leaders

Weeks after gazette notification was issued dividing Andhra Pradesh, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi got down to serious business of interacting with senior State leaders on Saturday.

Over a dozen senior leaders, including former Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Raj Narasimha, former PCC chief D. Srinivas, former Speaker K. R. Suresh Reddy, former Ministers – N. Raghuveera Reddy and Dokka Manikya Varaprasad and several others were granted audience by Mr. Gandhi.

Meeting all of them individually, Mr. Gandhi is said to have put pointed questions seeking to know the party position, impact of bifurcation in Telangana and Seemandhra and the road ahead to strength the party. The consultations it is said came in the backdrop of the party trying to assess the situation in the two regions with announcement of the poll notification.

After his meeting with the party vice-president, Mr Suresh Reddy told The Hindu that with elections round the corner, the central leadership wanted to inspire the party men. “By creating Telangana, a good platform has been created for the Congress to take political advantage. We told him that development is the responsibility of the leaders,” he said.

Mr. Reddy pointed out that they were asked to strengthen the party and take the message of bifurcation to the people. “We also said people of Telangana are overwhelmed and looking to support the Congress,” he said adding that Telangana Congress leaders had invited Mr. Gandhi and the party chief to tour the region.

Former Minister Dokka Manikya Varaprasad said he had pointed out that the Congress party’s fortunes could be revived to some extent only if the SC, BCs and Kapus were taken into confidence. He pointed out that the party’s precarious position was also explained in wake of decision to divide the State. Other Seemandhra leaders too expressed similar opinion. Meanwhile, there is no word yet on the constitution of two PCCs as announced by AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh.