NEW DELHI: Will Congress chief Sonia Gandhi campaign against Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) founder K Chandarsekhara Rao? That’s the question playing on the minds of political leaders after the two parties decided to contest the elections separately despite the initial show of bonhomie.
Sonia Gandhi would be the star campaigner in Telangana, a Congress move to tap into the goodwill in the wake of the Centre’s decision to create the new state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. TRS and Congress were negotiating a tie-up but are now set to cross swords.
The rising tempers were evident with what Nizamabad MP Madhu Yaskhi told TOI: “If Sonia Gandhi campaigns against TRS chief KCR, then his own victory would be doubt.”
Yaskhi said Sonia has replaced Indira Gandhi as the most popular leader in Telangana with the Centre’s decision to grant statehood to the region after six decades of struggle. “In Telangana, people in every village and corner knew Indiramma. She was everything to them. But now it is Soniaamma all the way. She is the most popular leader,” he said.
The ‘TRS vs Congress’ battle in Telangana would automatically pit KCR against Sonia Gandhi, but will Sonia campaign in KCR’s constituency is not clear yet. The TRS chief is a Lok Sabha MP but may choose to contest assembly polls this time to be held simultaneously.
After Parliament cleared the Telangana bill, KCR visited Sonia Gandhi with his entire family and lauded her role in bringing the old demand to fruition, raising the possibility of a merger. However, TRS has chosen to retain its identity while Congress refused to have an electoral alliance.
Now, all eyes are on the Congress as to what level would Congress raise the hostility against a regional force closely identified with its own poll plank of statehood for Telangana.