Congress set to form PCCs for Telangana, Seemandhra

Two days after Parliament approved the division of Andhra Pradesh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi set in motion internal consultations on the creation of separate party units for Telangana and Seemandhra.

On Saturday, Ms. Gandhi kicked off the process by meeting State Ministers Kanna Lakshminarayana, who is from Andhra, and Uttam Kumar Reddy, who belongs to Telangana.

Congress sources indicated that it looked as though the State was headed for President’s rule, as elections — both to the Lok Sabha and the still undivided Andhra Pradesh Assembly (pending the formal creation of the two States) — will be announced in another two weeks or so.

After Kiran Kumar Reddy resigned as Chief Minister, the Congress discussed the option of forming a government with a Chief Minister from the Seemandhra region, but at the time of writing, it looked unlikely.

The party leadership feels it would be more profitable right now to focus on creating two new Pradesh Congress Committees in anticipation of the formal division of the State so that preparations for the forthcoming elections can begin.

The Congress’s top priority is either to persuade the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) to merge with it or forge an electoral alliance. While TRS sources said the party would prefer an alliance to a merger, the Congress unit in Telangana is divided on the advantages of the two arrangements.

Of the 17 seats in Telangana, the Congress currently holds 10 (it had won 12 in 2009, but two of its MPs crossed over to the TRS).

The TRS is now bargaining to contest eight of the 17, leaving eight to the Congress: neither party is interested in the 17th seat, Hyderabad, which is held by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen.

As for the Seemandhra region, the Congress, party sources said, is depending on the special economic package that the Centre has announced for it to ensure that it is not a washout for it in the elections.