Hyderabad: The Telangana unit of the Congress will begin a “bus yatra” in different districts starting Monday, wherein senior leaders of the party will undertake individual walkathons and hold public meetings “to expose the failures of the government and suppression of people’s voice”. The programme will begin from Chevella, about 50 kilometres from Hyderabad.
The Congress bus yatra, which will be held in two phases from 26 February to 21 March and from 1 April to 15 May, is being seen as part of its preparation for the 2019 assembly elections. It will culminate in a public meeting on 1 June which is likely to be attended by All India Congress Committee president Rahul Gandhi, said a senior leader from Hyderabad, who was not willing to be identified.
The bus yatra will pass through areas like Vikarabad, Tandur, Sanga Reddy and Zaheerabad in the next two days. The programme will cover all the 119 state assembly constituencies.
The bus yatra is one of the major programmes the Congress has taken up in the state, apart from the Leadership Development Mission in Reserved Constituencies (LDMRC), through which the party is trying to win over the SC/ST community in the state.
The Congress is looking to strengthen its position after it lost eight of its 21 MLAs who defected to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) post the 2014 assembly elections. However, things have changed a bit since last October, when former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) working president and Kodangal MLA A. Revanth Reddy joined the Congress along with his supporters. Ever since other TDP leaders and cadre have also joined the Congress in different phases, making it clear that the Congress is emerging as the only major force against the TRS, which increased its tally of MLAs from 63 to 90 through defections.
“The yatra might work as they are going to the public and telling them who is right and wrong. So the public will ultimately decide whom to vote for. The programme could make a difference, as there is some restlessness against the state government. At the time of voting, people will remember unfulfilled promises,” said Leo Augustine, former general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Libertieslivemint