Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) has put up a brave front after Congress candidate Palvai Sravanthi Reddy lost her deposit in the Munugode by-election, saying that the loss has not affected the morale of the Congress in the state, as Rahul Gandhi’s Bharat Jodo Yatra was a huge success in Telangana.
Congress leader and the former Leader of the Opposition in the Telangana Legislative Council, Mohammed Shabbir Ali, who was appointed as the head of one of the 16 committees constituted by the TPCC to ensure that the Bharat Jodo Yatra does not face any problems in the state, said that Rahul Gandhi’s padayatra was like a shot in the arm for the Telangana Congress. “The last 15 days were among the best in our lives. It was an honour and privilege to be a part of this historic padayatra led by Rahul Gandhi. He carries the message of unity and peace, and the Bharat Jodo Yatra receives divine support,’’ he said.
The bypoll in Munugode Assembly constituency held on November 3 was won by the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), with the BJP coming second in the results declared on November 6. The seat was won by the Congress in 2018 by Komatireddy Raj Gopal Reddy, who resigned from the party, joined BJP and fought the by-election as its candidate.
When asked about the result of the Munugode by-election, Ali said, “The Munugode by-election was imposed by the BJP and TRS with the sole intention of creating a fake impression among people before the Assembly elections next year that they were main rivals and the Congress was finished in Telangana. However, they failed in their attempts as people realised that both parties lured them with huge cash, liquor and other sops and none spoke about the problems. Congress party, from the first day of the campaign, maintained that it will not spend money to get votes. Consequently, we lost the by-elections, but the Congress party registered a moral victory. TRS and BJP failed to demoralise the Congress cadre as the Bharat Jodo Yatra got tremendous public support and it rejuvenated all leaders and the entire cadre across Telangana State,’’ he said. “Bharat Jodo Yatra and Rahul Gandhi was a huge success in Telangana and its impact would be ever-lasting,’’ Shabbir Ali said.
“It was no less than a miracle that thousands of people, including the dedicated Bharat Yatris, assembled at a designated point twice a day and walked about 25 kms each day without any obstacle or hurdle. The Bharat Jodo Yatra entered Telangana on October 23 and, after a Diwali break, resumed on October 27. It covered 19 Assembly segments and 7 parliamentary constituencies spread across 375 km in Telangana without even a single glitch or untoward incident. The padayatra covered Hyderabad region on November 1 and 2. All the arrangements were magnificent and the public response was tremendous, he said. Shabbir Ali said crowd management, especially in political rallies, becomes a major challenge. However, thousands of people, led by Rahul Gandhi, are walking peacefully by raising the slogans of uniting India without a single glitch.
He said Rahul Gandhi was successful in conveying the message that the nation was under the threat from the divisive forces and they must be defeated by ensuring unity among all people. Further, he said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has exposed the unholy nexus between TRS and BJP in Telangana and how both parties are trying to divide people to continue their rule.
“TPCC President Revanth Reddy had constituted 16 committees for the Bharat Jodo Yatra, with each handling a specific responsibility. All the leaders, irrespective of their seniority and experience, worked together as a team. This Yatra has also sent a strong message to the people that the Congress party in Telangana was not a divided house, but a strong team which could accomplish anything it wanted,” he said.
Ali also said that the Bharat Jodo Yatra has created a powerful bonding among Congress leaders and workers. “On each day of the padayatra, all leaders and workers had different tasks and different challenges. But all of us, as a team, handled those tasks efficiently. Of course, there were many moments of tension, anxiety and tiredness. But they used to transform into a smile after watching the tremendous public response to Bharat Jodo Yatra,” he said.
He said even Rahul Gandhi had some nostalgic moments when he hoisted the national flag at historic Charminar. He recalled his memories of his father, late Rajiv Gandhi Ji, who also visited Charminar 32 years ago for his Sadbhavana Yatra. “The response to the yatra from Charminar to Necklace Road has sent a clear message that people are against communal politics and they want to reject all divisive forces like the RSS and the BJP. By joining the Bharat Jodo Yatra, people endorsed Rahul Gandhi’s stand that there should be no division among people on the basis of religion, caste, region, gender or language,” he said.
The Congress leader said that Rahul Gandhi has brought so much positive energy that even senior Congress leaders almost forgot their respective physical and age-related limitations and walked over 20 km every day. “Rahul Gandhi, through Bharat Jodo Yatra, had ignited a fire among all Congress workers which would lead us to victory in the next Assembly elections in Telangana,” he said.