Feedback from the ground suggesting a neck-and-neck race in Telangana has encouraged the Congress to give that strong final push before polling on November 30, with the Muslim vote emerging as the critical factor that can still tilt the balance in favour of the ruling BRS.
The Congress knows it is in a position to deliver the knock-out punch to K. Chandrashekhar Rao whose 10-year rule has created considerable discontent among the people, and the last few days of electioneering are going to be crucial. While Priyanka Gandhi Vadra addressed three public rallies in the state on Friday, Congress president Mallikjarjun Kharge was also in Telangana
The Congress has been desperately trying to explain to the people the “hidden nexus” between the BRS, AIMIM and the BJP. Rahul Gandhi has said at all the meetings he has addressed in the state that both KCR and Asaduddin Owaisi work for Narendra Modi.
Even on Friday, Priyanka said at Palakurthi: “There is no difference between the BRS and the BJP; both are for big corporates. They also support each other and the AIMIM is their partner. Owaisi is contesting only nine seats here but fields 40-50 candidates in other states.
Priyanka asked people to analyse why Owaisi attacks Rahul so viciously. Incensed by Rahul’s allegation that the AIMIM takes money from the BJP to weaken the Congress across the country, Owaisi has been questioning the former Congress president’s intellectual abilities and political acumen, insisting that he was “delivering the nonsense” that was written in the script. Owaisi says he is caught between “goons”, the BJP and the Congress.
That Owaisi has been fielding candidates in constituencies dominated by Muslims in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra over the past few years, hurting the Congress's prospects, is not open to dispute. He has now fielded candidates in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan too, prompting the Congress to describe him as an agent of the BJP.
Congress minority department chief Imran Pratapgarhi sarcastically said in Telangana: “Bahut buland faza mein teri patang sahi, mujhe pata hai magar dor kiske haath mein hai (Your kite indeed is flying majestically, but I know who is holding the string).”
Owaisi is supporting the BRS in the state and it is a known fact that KCR has helped the Modi government at the Centre at every juncture. The conspiracy to disrupt the Opposition alliance was hatched in Telangana with KCR touring the country to sew up a non-Congress alternative. If the Congress manages to win Telangana, it will be a lethal blow to the politics of subterfuge in the country, played through tacit understanding and hidden alliances.
Priyanka on Friday said the KCR government was steeped in corruption from top to bottom, alleging theft of thousands of crores. She said the government that was supposed to develop the nascent state got engrossed in loot, working for their own aggrandisement. Though the government indeed has an image crisis and the chief minister is known for his dictatorial tendencies, the Congress has stiff competition on the welfare agenda as the BRS government too has several alluring schemes.
To match the incumbent government’s robust welfareism, the Congress has offered Rs 2,500 every month to women in Telangana. In Madhya Pradesh, the Congress has promised Rs 1,500 to women and in Rajasthan, its government gives Rs 10,000 a year, which works out to around Rs 830 per month. In Karnataka, women get Rs 2,000 every month. The party has promised gas cylinders for Rs 500 in Telangana as well.
Kharge said in Hyderabad: “The BJP, BRS and the AIMIM are together. They are one. The ED, CBI and income tax are unleashed upon the Congress. Even the National Herald newspaper is targeted. Telangana is in the control of land, sand and wine mafia. Leaders who only looted the state, leaders who are totally disconnected from the common people, who are running governance from farmhouses are abusing Indira Gandhi who sacrificed her life for the country. The other is a liar who promised to give Rs 15 lakh to everyone. What they have done is sell the assets built by the Congress. Remove these people.”
A statement issued by Congress communications chief Jairam Ramesh said the objective of creating a separate Telangana state was development of regions other than Hyderabad, but that had not been fulfilled by the BRS government. Ramesh said the Congress would ensure all-round development while further bolstering Brand Hyderabad that was built by the previous Y. Rajashekhar Reddy government of the party.