Congress Wants To Give ‘Jitni Abadi Utna Haq,’ But Not When It Comes To Ticket Distribution

S Rajesh

May 17, 2024, 12:51 PM | Updated 01:08 PM IST

Rahul Gandhi and Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy
Rahul Gandhi and Telangana Chief Minister Revanth Reddy
  • Congress has undermined its own call for equitable representation by favouring a specific community in Telangana.
  • For months now, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been talking a lot about ‘social justice,’ ‘nyay,’ and ‘Jitni Abadi Utna Haq’ (rights as per share in the population), vociferously arguing for caste census for the implementation of the idea and criticising the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over these issues. 

    However, the party is failing to implement these ideas where it already has control — the party organisation. For instance, a look at the party’s candidate lists in Telangana would show how the party has given MP tickets majorly to certain families and communities.

    The Reddy community, which comes under the general category and constitutes about 6 per cent of the population, is a dominant force in the state’s politics. It got seven MP tickets out of the 12 unreserved constituencies.

    Further, out of the 29 non-caste or community-based nominated posts, i.e., heads of various state-level corporations, for which appointments were made in March 2024, 12 have gone to Reddys (in both cases considering only those having ‘Reddy’ as part of their name).

    This is when the state has a backward classes (BC) population of around 52 per cent, a Scheduled Caste population of about 17 per cent and a Scheduled Tribe population of around 9 per cent. The rest comprises other general castes and minorities.

    Apart from giving tickets and positions to a large number of people from the Reddy community, there is also the issue of many tickets being given to family members of ministers, MLAs or MPs.

    Some examples include the Malkajgiri candidate, Patnam Sunitha Mahender Reddy, who is the wife of former minister Patnam Mahender Reddy; the Nagarkurnool candidate, Mallu Ravi, who is the brother of Deputy Chief Minister Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, and Kadiyam Kavya, the daughter of Kadiyam Srihari, who was the deputy chief minister in the previous Bharat Rashtra Samiti (BRS) government.

    Ravi was already serving as the special representative of the Telangana government in Delhi, with cabinet rank. He had however resigned from the post.

    To be fair, it must be mentioned that the BJP and BRS too have given a sizeable number of tickets to those from the Reddy community.

    When it comes to the issue of giving tickets to family members, it is well known that former Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR)’s son, K Taraka Rama Rao (KTR), his daughter K Kavitha, and nephew T Harish Rao, are all in politics.

    But it is the Congress which has gone to town with such messaging, including claiming that the BJP would end reservations, and thus it is its ticket distribution that mandates such scrutiny.

    The BJP on the other hand has actually given tickets to a larger number of BCs in the Lok Sabha elections. It had even promised a BC chief minister in Telangana. Two of its main leaders are from the two large BC communities — Bandi Sanjay (Munnuru Kapu) and Eatala Rajender (Mudiraj).

    According to a report by Deccan Chronicle, 43 of the MLAs elected from 88 unreserved seats in the 2023 Assembly elections belonged to the Reddy community. A count of those from the Congress (again only including those having ‘Reddy’ in their names) shows that there are 24 of them.

    Also, according to critics, the Congress has not given a ticket to the Madiga community (the largest SC community in the state) as they contend that Kadiyam Kavya (from the Byndla community, a Madiga sub-caste), who is the party’s Warangal MP candidate, has married a Muslim and is thus no longer eligible.

    The other two SC reserved seats have been given to the numerically smaller and relatively more advanced Mala community.

    Congress' actions in Telangana thus reveal a stark contrast between its public messaging on social justice and its own practices.

    By favouring the Reddy community and political families, the party has undermined its own 'Jitni Abadi Utna Haq' call for equitable representation.

    Also Read: From A National Pitch Just Two Years Ago, KCR's BRS Is Struggling To Survive In Telangana Politics — What Went Wrong?

    S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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