The demoralised Andhra Pradesh Congress unit plans to revive its sagging spirits by bringing Congress General Secretary of UP (East) Priyanka Gandhi to the state. The Congress is planning to hold a 'Special Status Bharosa' yatra of 2,272 km covering 13 districts in the state from February 19 to March 3, promising the crucial Special Category Status which has become the bone of contention in Andhra politics. Besides Priyanka Gandhi, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and chief ministers of Congress-ruled states will also take part in the yatra.
In the upcoming state and general elections, the Congress party which suffered a rout in 2014, is going to contest independently without allying with the ruling Telugu Desam Party, after their failed experiment in Telangana.
Though it seemed like the Congress was regrouping by bringing leaders who had quit the party against the High Command's decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh, the party is yet again suffering a crisis as just days before the elections, leaders like Nadendla Manohar quit to join Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party. Most recently, Kurnool strongman Kotla Suryaprakash Reddy also left the party. Kotla Suryaprakash is likely to join the TDP formally on February 18. He had expressed that he didn't like the idea of the Congress contesting independently in the polls. Many feel that this has weakened the prospects of the party, which is on the path of recovery.
However, the party is hoping to better its performance by organising a yatra similar to that of YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy, on a massive scale.
Speaking to TNM, APCC vice president, Narreddy Tulasi Reddy said, "The yatra will begin in Anantapur and end in Srikakulam. Raghuveera Reddy would be leading the yatra, while Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi would come and partake in the yatra for one day. Former CM of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah, Deputy CM G Parameshwara, Nagma, Khushboo and others would also be partaking," he said.
In the yatra, the Congress intends to cover 84 Lok Sabha constituencies, with 64 public meetings planned.
"Besides providing the assurance of Special Category Status, we will also announce our poll promises like crop-loan waiver," Tulasi Reddy added.