Chief Minister meets Sonia Gandhi in Delhi
The Congress leadership has intensified efforts to set its house in order in Andhra Pradesh where the party is facing twin challenges posed by the separate Telangana issue and the task of performing well in the forthcoming by-elections to 18 Assembly seats.
Union Minister Vayalar Ravi, a former AICC general secretary in-charge of the State, arrived in the city on Monday night to hold discussions with senior leaders and warring groups within the party to know first hand the state of affairs. Mr. Ravi told reporters here that he would try to settle the small differences among them. He described the reports of ‘deep differences' between Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana as ‘media creation' and said small difference of opinion was bound to be there in a democratic party like the Congress. Mr. Ravi is set to hold a meeting of senior party leaders at Gandhi Bhavan at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. Mr. Ravi is expected to stay in the State capital for a couple of days.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, now in New Delhi for the meeting on internal security, called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi, and was closeted with her for 15 minutes.
The Congress finds itself in a piquant situation with the threat posed to its prospects by the YSR Congress Party led by Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy on the one hand and significant increase in pitch against continuance of Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy as the Chief Minister.
The party's performance in the recent by-elections to seven constituencies, including six in Telangana, was below par raising concerns over its falling graph in a key State which had representation of 33 Congress MPs.
Party leaders are apprehensive that a repeat of the performance in the upcoming by-elections, almost all of them in Seemandhra region, might result in large-scale migration of leaders and cadre to the rebel outfit. In all, 17 out of the 18 seats where by-polls will be held were represented by the Congress before the disqualification of the rebels.