(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF INDIA’S HINDUSTAN TIMES)
Telangana assembly elections 2018: An emotional Sonia Gandhi vows to teach TRS a ‘fitting lesson’
Telangana assembly elections 2018: Sonia Gandhi said she had to undergo a lot of difficulties while taking a decision on granting statehood to Telangana. She reminded the people that the Congress had to pay a heavy price for its decision to grant Telangana state.
TELANGANA ELECTIONS Updated: Nov 24, 2018 09:12 IST
UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who visited Telanagana for the first time on Friday, called upon the people of the county’s newest state to teach a fitting lesson to Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) for completely shattering their hopes and aspirations in the four-and-a- half years of its rule.
Addressing a rally at Medchal on the outskirts of Hyderabad, she said, “It is an emotional moment for me, as I feel like a mother who is meeting her children after several years,” amidst loud cheers from the public.
Gandhi said she had to undergo a lot of difficulties while taking a decision on granting statehood to Telangana. “It was no easy decision, as I had to keep in mind the sentiments and feelings of people from both Andhra and Telangana regions. But, having witnessed the agitations of the people of Telangana and understood their aspirations, I had decided to carve out Telangana state, thanks to the support extended by all my colleagues, including then Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi,” she said.
She reminded the people that the Congress had to pay a heavy price for its decision to grant Telangana state. “Politically, it was a big loss for the party. Yet, we had taken the decision in the larger interests of the people of Telangana,” she said.
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The UPA chairperson also sought to reach out the people of Andhra who were angry over the bifurcation of the state. “While passing the bifurcation bill in Parliament, we had promised to take care of all the interests of Andhra Pradesh, including granting of special category status. We are still committed to this promise and once the Congress comes back to power at the Centre, we shall grant special category status to Andhra Pradesh,” she asserted.
Gandhi said she was very much pained to see the plight of the Telangana, even after four and a half years of the formation of new state. “Every mother wants her children to grow stronger and have a bright future. But I am able to see how you are still struggling with lack of development even after four years. The dreams you had when the Telangana state became a reality were totally shattered. The issues – water supply to parched lands, allocation of funds to every sector and filling up of jobs to eradicate unemployment – remained unfulfilled,” she alleged.
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Also alleging that farmers’ suicides were on the rise in the last four years, she also accused the TRS government of setting aside the central land acquisition act, 2013, brought in by then UPA government to forcibly acquired their lands. Meanwhile, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme was completely ignored, unemployed youth became desperate and self-help group women had become helpless, she added.
“When I used to visit other states in the past, I used to proudly mention about the welfare schemes being implemented in Andhra Pradesh. Now, there is no such opportunity. Every section – SC, ST and other backward classes are totally frustrated. While students and unemployed youth are agitating, only one family (of Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao) is happy,” she said.
Gandhi said the time had come for the people to show their anger at the TRS government. “This is the excellent opportunity for you to come out of all your troubles and lay the path for the progress of the state for a better future of the people. Understand the power of the vote and teach the TRS government a fitting lesson by voting for the Congress and its allies,” she said.
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In his brief address, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said the time had come for the people to show their gratitude towards Sonia Gandhi who was responsible for achieving statehood to Telangana. “She is very much concerned about the new state and the welfare of the people of all sections. She stood with you and understood your struggle for a separate state,” he said.
He said the Congress had joined hands with other like-minded opposition parties to form an alliance to fulfill the dreams of all sections of people including farmers, students, youth and women. “We must end the dictatorship and single family rule in the state,” he asserted.
Leaders of parties in the Congress-led grand alliance – M Kodandaram of Telangana Jana Samithi, Telugu Desam Party’s Telangana president L Ramana, Communist Party of India state secretary Chada Venkat Reddy – as well as state Congress chief N Uttam Kumar Reddy, also addressed the rally.
First Published: Nov 23, 2018 20:25 IST