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Andhra Pradesh - Vijayawada Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Success of Sonia's meet worries TDP

By P. Sujatha Varma

VIJAYAWADA, MARCH 14. Even as the mood in the Congress camp appears to be upbeat after the success of the party president, Sonia Gandhi's public meeting in the city, the overwhelming response to the meeting appears to have become a cause of concern for the ruling party leaders.

Though Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leaders are dubbing the meeting "utter failure'' in the open, they are worried about the impact of the remarks made by Ms. Gandhi, who touched the sentimental chords by raising local issues.

Sources in the TDP said that the party president and Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, sought a detailed report from party leaders on the impact of Ms. Sonia's visit for assessing the situation and preparing plans to counter the impact, if any.

One of the major causes of concern, according to TDP sources, is the clarity with which the Congress president spoke about issues like Pulichintala project. Ms. Gandhi's declaration that taking up the Pulichintala project would be among the priorities of the party if voted back to power caught the district TDP leaders off guard.

The TDP has been planning to bank on the Pulichintala issue by bringing forth the Congress alliance with the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), which had strongly opposed Pulichintala.

However, with the Congress president making the party's stand clear on the issue, the woes of TDP leaders seems to have compounded as they would be forced to search for issues that could help attract people on the one hand and counter the Congress criticism on the other.

TDP leaders, however, deny that they are worried about the response to Ms. Gandhi's public meeting. "The public present at the venue were mobilised by Congress leaders from seven districts in the coastal belt.

It will not reflect in the verdict of the electorate in the coming polls,'' says the senior TDP leader and former Vijayawada MP, Gadde Ramamohana Rao, emphatically.

When pointed out about the response of the people whenever Ms. Gandhi criticised the "failures'' of the State and Central Governments, Mr. Rao said Ms. Gandhi's speech lacked depth and failed to emote people. On the contrary, the people, especially women, heard Mr. Naidu with rapt attention in Tirupati. "There was no spontaneity and, in fact, a vast section of people who came to hear Ms. Gandhi speak, returned disappointed due to her inability to strike a chord with them," he maintained.

Endorsing his party leader's views, the former TDP MLA from Nandigama, Devineni Umamaheswar Rao, alleged that the crowds seen at the meeting venue were `bought' by the Congress.

When asked if the visit would leave an impact on the TDP's poll prospects, he shot back, "leave alone making a dent in the TDP votebank, she could not even impress her own party leaders and workers.'' The TDP leader from Kankipadu, Yalamanchili Nageswar Rao, echoed similar sentiments.

"Being the supreme authority of a national party, she failed to articulate her speech. What impact her visit can have on a strong party like the TDP,'' wondered Mr. Rao.

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