The Congress in Telangana is all buoyed up after the announcement of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to be held in Hyderabad on 16-17 September. Leaders in the party have indicated that the event will give a big boost to the party prospects and also increase the Congress presence which will eventually result in greater vote share for the party.
Asked whether the Congress will eat away the votes of Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) in the elections as it is gathering pace in the state, a BRS leader said, “I don’t think it will impact the BRS that much. The voters who have benefitted from the policies and welfare schemes of KCR will remain with the party. However, most of the swing voters are with the BJP and Congress. So, if Congress is seen branding itself more, it is more likely that the people who were thinking to vote for the BJP will now vote for the Congress. And surely, this exercise of holding the CWC meeting here by the grand old party will benefit them.”
According to party leaders working on the ground, there are around 15 such Assembly seats where the BJP could damage the Congress by cutting their votes and where BRS would turn out to be victorious. Moreover, there is a strong belief among BRS leaders that the party has no challenging opposition on around 40 Assembly seats thus far. Thereby, the party is least worried in those constituencies.
A BRS leader said, “We will win the elections. However, if we are pessimistic and see it through that prism, we will compulsarily win at least 40 seats. That means we don’t need to worry much on such seats. But again, we will easily win the elections. The Congress claiming to win more than 40 seats don’t actually seem realistic. Yet, all we can do is see their performance.”
With regards to Congress, there are more than 10 such seats where nobody can topple the Congress as there is no challenging candidate on such seats. A Congress leader said, “We don’t have popular faces on several constituencies. We have struggled to mark out a leader on many seats who can anchor his campaign and win. Had we had sufficient faces that could bring or attract people, this electoral battle could have been different and maybe we might have been fighting neck to neck.”
For instance, in Hyderabad, there are around 25 seats but the Congress doesn’t have good candidates on around 22 seats. A senior leader and ex MLA of Congress in Telangana said, “Yes, I agree. We don’t have any challenging candidates on around 22 seats in greater Hyderabad. And this meeting, if held at Parade Grounds or LB stadium, would have mobilised greater number of voters and our workers in Hyderabad. But now the public meeting will be held at Tukkuguda on the outskirts of the city after the party failed to get permission from the authorities concerned for the two venues.”
Moreover, it is also learnt that during the visit of Sonia Gandhi to Hyderabad, several leaders from the BJP and BRS are likely to join the Congress. These new entrants would also be considered for tickets, according to party sources.
A political analyst in the state said, “The Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting would boost the motivation of the Congress’ rank and file in the state as the top leadership, including the 84 members of the committee, will conduct a power show displaying its credentials. Consequently, it will help them project their party as a mighty force in the state and play to the gallery of perception building. It is going to be a very important event for the Congress in the state before elections.”