by IANS | Thu, Oct 20, 2022, 11:30 AM
Kurnool, Oct (IANS) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday claimed that there is a lot of room for the party to grow in Andhra Pradesh.
On the second day of his Bharat Jodo Yatra in Kurnool district, he told reporters that the state Congress leaders were surprised over the tremendous response to the Yatra in the state.
When asked how Congress hopes to regain the lost ground in Andhra Pradesh with three parties occupying the political space in the state, he said that there is a lot of room for the Congress party to grow.
"Congress is an idea that helps weaker sections of society and stitches together all sections. There is a lot of place for Congress to grow in Andhra Pradesh. The three political parties are more like businesses than political parties. There is a lot of room for us to grow particularly because there is huge distress in Andhra Pradesh. I have seen during the Yatra that there is distress among farmers, labourers and poor people. That is going to be our focus," he said.
He termed the response to Bharat Jodo Yatra in Andhra Pradesh as a good starting point to rebuild the party in the state. "We have had tremendous response to our Yatra. Lot of leaders were quite surprised over the enthusiasm and response we have had. I think this is a very good starting point to build the Congress party in Andhra Pradesh," he said.
He evaded a reply when asked if Congress would have an alliance with TDP or any other party in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. "That is not my jurisdiction. That is the jurisdiction of leaders of the party in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana," he said.
"Now, all these questions will be answered by the Congress president. It is not my jurisdiction," he remarked when asked if the Congress would take support from the YSR Congress Party to form government at the Centre in 2024.
He parried questions on whether the Congress regretted the decision to bifurcate Andhra Pradesh. "I am not going to go into the past. I am interested in discussing the future. I am very clear. As far as Andhra Pradesh is concerned, a commitment was made and it should be fulfilled. I am not interested in delving into the past," he said.
The Congress leader said all the commitments made by the Central government to Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation should be fulfilled. He identified Polavaram project and special category status to the state as the main commitments and reiterated that if voted to power at the Centre, the Congress would fulfill all commitments.
"When bifurcation took place, certain commitments were made to people of Andhra Pradesh. We believe those were fundamental commitments. Those should be fulfilled," he said.
Rahul opposed the idea of three state capitals proposed by the YSRCP Government. "My stand on the Amaravati issue is clear. We do not think the idea of having three capitals is a sensible and efficient idea. We think Andhra Pradesh should have one capital and that capital should be Amaravati. I met people who have given their lands and who have been cheated. I reiterate that we standby those people and defend the rights of those people," he added.