“Do not repeat the Tamil Nadu experience. Because of internal fighting, we lost the pre-eminent position in that state to the DMK a few decades ago and since then we have not recovered,” Azad said in a candid talk at the state Congress Coordination Committee meeting in Hyderabad. The meeting was held in the backdrop of a growing rift between Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and the APCC Chief B Satyanarayana.
“There seems to be no respect for each other. And every day, there are complaints galore by the state leaders against each other. We cannot continue like this anymore. You need to pull up your socks and work unitedly for the party’s success in the next elections,” the AICC leader is reported to have told the meeting attended by the Chief Minister, PCC Chief and other senior leaders.
Azad also cautioned the party leaders about the possibility of regional parties like Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) led by K Chandrasekhar Rao and YSR Congress Party headed by Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, strengthening their base at the cost of Congress.
Making it clear that the party high command would not tolerate groupism, he called upon the state leaders to sink their differences and work shoulder to shoulder to help the party grow stronger ahead of
the by-elections in Telangana and also in constituencies represented by pro-Jagan legislators who face the prospect of disqualification for voting against the government during the recent no-confidence motion.
The infighting in the ruling party came to the fore during the recent cabinet expansion. While the chief minister proposed a complete overhaul of his cabinet, involving removal of at least four dissident colleagues and bringing in his loyalists into the team, the high command had rejected the idea and permitted only a limited expansion exercise to induct two members of the erstwhile Praja Rajyam Party which has since merged with the Congress.
Sources said that the Congress leadership was wary of stirring up a hornet’s nest by permitting a total recast of the cabinet, particularly at a time when the Congress has a slender majority in the Assembly. The chief minister’s failure to get the green signal for a full-fledged reshuffle is seen in the political circles as a setback to his camp.
His rival Satyanarayana, who is also a minister, appears to have scored a political point by persuading the high command not to go for a radical rejig. In fact, Kiran Reddy had favoured removal of Satyanarayana from the cabinet, citing the “one man one post” principle.
The agreement is the first bilateral trade deal between the Gulf and South America