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`Congress has failed to gauge Telangana sentiment'

Special Correspondent

The party did not realise the magnitude of sentiment or the ground reality, say Ministers

HYDERABAD: A day ahead of the counting of votes for the Karimnagar and Bobilli Lok Sabha seats, Ministers from Telangana conceded at a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday that the Congress had failed to gauge the strong Telangana sentiment prevailing in Karimnagar.

They accepted that the party did not realise either the magnitude of the sentiment or the prevailing ground reality. An undercurrent in favour of separate Statehood coupled with the Congress leaders' failure to convince beedi workers in the controversy over the health warning might affect the party's fortune, they reportedly stated at the Cabinet meeting.

A senior Minister said the party misread the signals since people mainly complained about erratic power supply, price rise and the beedi controversy. "Needless statements by some Congress leaders also added to the confusion," he was quoted as saying. Another Minister, who extensively campaigned in the byelection, said that till the polling began on December 4, the situation was in favour of the party. "By afternoon, it became clear that the sentiment was working in favour of the TRS."

YSR's reaction

Reacting to the observations, Dr. Reddy was reported to have said that he too did not get any hint of the Telangana sentiment.

He conceded the fact that Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss' remarks that there was no move to withdraw the health warning on beedi bundles also sent wrong signals to the voters.

With regard to Bobilli, Ministers from North Coastal Andhra expressed confidence that the party would wrest the seat from the Telugu Desam Party.