Hyderabad: Upbeat over its poll victory in Karnataka, the Congress has now shifted its focus to Telangana and the leadership is contemplating to give a key role to D. K. Shivakumar, who is credited for the party storming to power in the neighbouring state.
Now when it seems certain that Siddaramaiah will be named as the chief minister of Karnataka, the Congress leadership is likely to entrust a big role to Shivakumar in the party and use his services for upcoming elections in Telangana.
Assembly elections in Telangana are due towards the end of the year and a section of the Congress leaders both in Delhi and Hyderabad feel that the party needs a face like Shivakumar to restore its glory in its former stronghold.
After failing twice to come to power despite claiming credit for carving out Telangana state and reeling under defections and infighting, the Congress is desperate to bounce back.
Shivakumar, who as the President of Karnataka Congress, united the party and played a key role in enlisting the support of various castes and communities, may be asked to replicate it in Telangana.
With the Congress in Telangana lacking charismatic leaders, party cadres are said to be in favour of roping in Shivakumar. State party President A. Revanth Reddy himself is learnt to have supported the proposal.
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Sources said Shivakumar, who single handedly checkmated BJP in Karnataka, can help the party in countering the saffron party, which has been in an aggressive mode and projecting itself as viable alternative ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS).
The KCR-led BRS is looking for a hat-trick, relying on the Telangana sentiment and Telangana model of welfare and development.
In Shivkumar, Congress seems to have found a “winning machine” and a “Mr Dependable” who can pitch wonders in the form of uniting warring and sparring factions, deftly handling dissidents and rebels, and clinically running campaigns against the incumbent government’s failures. This was exactly the winning mantra that Congress has adopted in Karnataka, and while attacking BJP for its corruption, it also neutralised the JD-S vote eventually that once looked like denting its prospects.
A section of Congress leaders in Telangana believe that Shivakumar’s experience can come in handy for the Congress in not only uniting different warring groups within the party but also forging alliance with other like-minded parties.
“Shivakumar can help in bringing like-minded parties on board to prevent any split of anti-BRS and anti-BJP votes,” a source in Congress told IANS.
It is in this context that Shivakumar’s meeting with Y.S. Sharmila, the leader of YSR Telangana Party (YSRTP) and daughter of former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) in Bengaluru assumed significance.
While, there is no confirmation about what transpired between Shivakumar and Sharmila, it is seen as a possible beginning of a more serious dialogue.
Shivakumar had close relations with the late YSR and his family. As Sharmila is banking on the legacy of YSR, who was a Congress stalwart, some Congress leaders in Telangana see a common ground in joining hands with her.
Meanwhile, Sharmila conveyed her birthday greeting to Shivakumar. “I extend my warm birthday greetings to dear brother Mr DK Shivakumar ji. This birthday must be especially sweeter and more momentous to you, after the tremendous victory of your party in the assembly elections. I pray to god to give you long life and great health to serve the people of Karnataka,” she tweeted.
Sharmila also posted a photograph in which she is seen with Shivakumar and his wife.