Hyderabad, March 17 IANS | 9 months ago

Congress leaders in Seemandhra have decided to hit the roads on a 'bus yatra' to enthuse party cadres ahead of the tough electoral battle it faces in the region following the division of Andhra Pradesh.

Nearly a month after parliament passed the bill for formation of Telangana, Congress leaders in Seemandhra have decided to embark on the 'bus yatra' from March 21 to lift the sagging morale of the party that has been facing the onslaught of rivals over the state's bifurcation.

It will also be the first tour by Congress leaders after a separate party unit for Seemandhra or the residual state of Andhra Pradesh was formed last week.

Party chief for the region Raghuveera Reddy, chairman of the election campaign committee K. Chiranjeevi, former state party chief Botsa Satyanarayana and senior leader Anam Ramnarayana Reddy will take part in the 'bus yatra'.

After a meeting of party leaders here Monday, Chiranjeevi told reporters that they would cover all 13 districts from Srikakulam to Anantapur.

"We will address meetings of party workers to tell them the truth about the circumstances under which the state had to be divided and who were behind the decision," the union minister said.

The Congress leaders said they would also explain how a special package announced by the central government and the proposed institutions will benefit Seemandhra.

The leaders plan to cover two districts every day to gear up party cadres for a series of elections, beginning with municipal polls March 30.

Elections to panchayati raj institutions will be held April 6, while simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the state assembly are scheduled May 7.

The Congress is facing a tough time in Seemandhra as both Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu and YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy are aggressively campaigning for the last several days, targeting the Congress for the state's division.

The Jai Samaikyandhra party launched by former chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has also hit the campaign trail.

By floating a new party Jana Sena, actor Pawan Kalyan has added to the Congress's woes.

Pawan Kalyan, the younger brother of Chiranjeevi, has given a call to people to bury the Congress for splitting the state.

The Congress has also been rocked by the exodus of leaders to TDP and other parties.

About a dozen legislators and former ministers switched loyalties to the TDP in the last two weeks.

Union minister D. Purandeswari also quit the Congress to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Six parliamentarians expelled from the Congress and at least two former state ministers have joined hands with Kiran Kumar Reddy, who resigned as chief minister and also quit the Congress after the Telangana bill was passed in parliament.

Seemandhra comprises 13 districts - four of Rayalaseema and nine of coastal Andhra. It has 25 Lok Sabha seats and 175 assembly constituencies.

Telangana, which comprises 10 districts, and Andhra Pradesh will formally come into existence as two separate states June 2.

(Posted on 17-03-2014)

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