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Home » News » Politics » Sonia wants Rahul to play key role in Andhra Pradesh affairs
Sonia wants Rahul to play key role in Andhra Pradesh affairs

Sonia wants Rahul to play key role in Andhra Pradesh affairs

NEW DELHI/HYDERABAD: Finally, AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi is waking up to the developments in Andhra Pradesh. Concerned over the manner in which the popularity of the Congress has been plummeting in the state since the death of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and the revival of the Telangana agitation, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has turned to her son Rahul to informally take charge of the party’s affairs in AP and ensure that things look up by the time the elections take place in 2014.AICC sources told TOI that towards that end, Rahul has initiated the process of getting himself briefed about the state of affairs in AP. “Last week, Rahul met former PCC chief D Srinivas and on Tuesday, newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP R Ananda Bhaskar was summoned by the young Gandhi’s office for an exclusive meeting with the AICC general secretary. Rahul is slated to meet a few more young leaders from the state before deciding what steps to take to revive the Congress fortunes in AP,” the sources said. There are also indications that Rahul might visit Hyderabad in the next few days.

According to the sources, it was the Congress chief who first began worrying about the way events were unfolding in AP over the last few months. “The emergence of the Jaganmohan Reddy factor, the Telangana issue, the poor performance of the Congress in the bypolls and the infighting in the state Congress and the state government made Sonia realize that drastic steps needed to be taken,” said the sources.

It was in this backdrop that Sonia first met D Srinivas and Ananda Bhaskar last week, this at a time when she refused appointments for senior leaders from the state including chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, PCC president Botsa Satyanarayana, deputy chief minister C Damodar Raja Narasimha and several others who have been camping in the national capital for an audience with madam.

The sources said the two leaders briefed Sonia about the latest situation in the state. “D Srinivas briefed her about the situation in Telangana and the infighting among the top leaders and the Congress prospects in the bypolls to 18 assembly seats. Ananda Bhaskar briefed her about the overall situation in the state,” they said.

Bhaskar has been submitting reports to the Congress high command from Gandhi Bhavan on behalf of the state Congress for the past six years and ‘madam apparently has a lot of faith in his understanding and analysis,’ the sources said.

It was after these meetings that Sonia had with the two state leaders that Rahul was brought into the picture. In his 15-minute meeting which Ananda Bhaskar had with the Amethi MP on Tuesday, the two reportedly discussed matters such as party organization, party programmes, government functioning and the steps to be taken to strengthen the party ahead of the 2014 elections.

Ananda Bhaskar, who is yet to take oath as Rajya Sabha MP, however, declined to reveal the details of the meeting with Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday. “The AICC general secretary was keen to know about the implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the state,” is all he told TOI.

Incidentally, Rahul has been till now inaccessible to state leaders. But things seem to be changing now. Newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP Palvai Govardhan Reddy is currently camping in Delhi and waiting for an audience with Sonia and Rahul. All this is likely to culminate in a visit to Hyderabad by the AICC general secretary very soon, the sources claimed.

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