Telangana PCC urges Sonia Gandhi to contest from state for a clean sweep in Lok Sabha polls

The party leaders in Telangana feel Sonia Gandhi seeking the mandate from the state would help the Congress win more seats there.

ByRaj Rayasam

Published Jan 06, 2024 | 2:23 PMUpdatedJan 06, 2024 | 2:24 PM

Sonia Gandhi represents Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh, in the 17th Lok Sabha. (File pic/X)

The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) is keen on former AICC president Sonia Gandhi contesting to the Lok Sabha from the state.

Despite the party’s high command being tightlipped about the constituency from where she would contest, the TPCC is trying to persuade her to seek election to the Lok Sabha from Telangana. Sonia represents Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli the 17th Lok Sabha.

The state Congress unit feels Sonia contesting from Telangana would help it win the maximum number of seats. Her presence would have a positive influence on other Lok Sabha constituencies.

A recent TPCC executive meeting resolved to request her to contest from the state. Earlier, the Pradesh Election Committee adopted a similar resolution.

Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy is also keen on Sonia seeking a mandate from Telangana as it would set the tone for the continuance of the party’s dream run in the state.

Revanth Reddy was rewarded with the chief minister’s post after navigating the party through choppy waters and helping it regain its lost glory.

In the process, he demolished BRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao’s image of being indomitable and invincible. The regional party is now licking its wounds after suffering a massive blow.

Also read: Revanth meeting with UPSC chief sparks hope for TSPSC

Another challenge for Revanth

Now, Revanth Reddy is facing his next big challenge — winning a maximum number of Lok Sabha seats. He is already bracing for the battle and has scheduled meetings with ministers who are appointed as in charge of various Lok Sabha constituencies.

The party leaders believe that the people would elect her by a huge margin as an expression of gratitude for carving Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh in 2014.

They think that one of the reasons for the party’s victory in the recent Assembly elections was that the people felt that they were indebted to Sonia for the creation of the state.

Though there are no indications yet from Delhi on where she would contest from Telangana, the party’s state unit is nonetheless looking for safe seats for her.

Also read: ECI announces by-election to 2 seats in Telangana Council

Possible ‘safe’ seats

At the moment, Khammam, Nalgonda, and Mahabubnagar are on their radar. The party leaders think that winning from any of the three seats would be very easy for her.

The party had won six Assembly segments in the Khammam Lok Sabha constituency while the remaining segment was won by the CPI — its ally.

The party is also taking a close look at Nalgonda, which is also considered safe as Nalgonda district is traditionally a Congress stronghold. In the Assembly elections, the Congress won all seven Assembly segments in the constituency.

The party won all seven segments in Mahbubnagar as well. The added advantage was Revanth Reddy himself was in charge of the constituency and his home Assembly segment, Kondal, is also part of the Lok Sabha constituency.

The party leaders are examining other constituencies for her as well. They include Medak, from where late prime minister Indira Gandhi — Sonia’s mother-in-law — was elected to Lok Sabha in 1980. She retained the seat till her assassination in 1984.

Then there is the Malkangiri seat, which Revanth Reddy represented till recently. As the constituency is very large and is considered a mini-India since people from all over the country have settled there, winning the seats is considered easy.

If the party decides to play on the Telangana sentiments, it may suggest Karimnagar where Sonia, in the run-up to the 2004 elections, promised the people that “their dreams are going to come true” implying the formation of the Telangana state. The Congress had then contested in alliance with the BRS (then the TRS).

If Sonia contests from Khammam, former Union minister Renuka Chowdary, incumbent Revenue Minister Ponguleti’s brother Prasad Reddy, and Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka’s wife Nandini would left in the lurch.

As far as Nalgonda is concerned, Rahul Gandhi had promised it to Patel Ramesh Reddy, saying he would make way for R Damodar Reddy to contest from his home constituency, Suryapet.

Apart from Ramesh Reddy, former minister and senior leader K Jana Reddy is showing interest in the seat.

In case Sonia decides to contest from Nalgonda, Ramesh Reddy might be asked to contest from nearby Bhongir, but the party’s state-level leader Chamala Kiran Kumar Reddy is also hoping to contest from there.