Hyderabad: The set of 51 recommendations that a 10-member ministers` committee has come up with to revive the dipping fortunes of the Congress in Andhra Pradesh has only exposed how far the party and the government were from ground reality, observers feel.
The proposals that it has mooted to regain confidence of the electorate have only made the Congress a laughing stock not only outside but also within the party, they feel.
The 10-member committee, headed by the Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao, was constituted to conduct a post-mortem following the drubbing the Congress received in the by-elections to 18 Assembly constituencies and one Lok Sabha seat in June and suggest ways and means to restore the lost glory.
The Committee did not acknowledge the strong anti-incumbency against the 8-year-old government.
It suggested that more schemes be introduced for the welfare of backward classes a recommendation that was hurriedly incorporated after the main opposition Telugu Desam Party came out with a BC Declaration recently.
Installing statues of late Indira Gandhi in all habitations, particularly those belonging to weaker sections, and launching a newspaper and television channel by and for the party were among the main "recommendations" that the post-mortem report contained.
Indira Gandhi’s statues are planned to be a counter to hundreds of statues of late Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, which his son YS Jaganmohan Reddy unveiled virtually in every habitation across the state and thus turned him into an icon. The newspaper and television channel are essentially to counter the anti-government crusade by Jagan’s Sakshi media house.
As per government claims, 2.25 crore out of 2.9 crore households in the state have white ration cards, making them eligible to draw all benefits under a slew of welfare schemes.
In actual terms, more than 90 percent of the state’s populace is drawing benefits like rice at Re 1-a-kg, health insurance coverage up to Rs 2 lakh each, permanent houses (60 lakh have already been built as per government records), ownership of cultivable land, reimbursement of fee for higher and professional studies and many more.
Hence, there is no sense in the Congress argument that it could not propagate its schemes effectively when about 7.5 crore people are perceived to be direct beneficiaries.
"If the Congress claim is correct, it only means that the schemes are not actually reaching the targeted groups and eligible beneficiaries. The government should admit that and do a reality check," political commentator N Radhakrishna noted.
So far two party MPs expressed a similar view on the issue. "But the less we talk about it, the better," Karimnagar MP Ponnam Prabhakar opined.
Other senior leaders like former minister R Damodar Reddy have dubbed the ministers committee recommendations as "trash".
"The recommendations made by these ministers, most of whom who could not ensure victory of the party in their own constituencies, will in no way help the Congress. Why should the party run a newspaper and a television channel," questions Damodar Reddy.
He was also very critical about the omission of the "crucial" Telangana issue that caused the party’s defeat in successive by-elections in the region.
Peddapalli MP G Vivekananda and Ponnam too expressed serious displeasure at the committee over ignoring the Telangana issue.
Some other leaders felt the report should have listed the non-performance of Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy as one of the main reasons for the party’s debacle.
Now, the Chief Minister has asked the various government departments to "study the important recommendations" of the ministers committee and "come back with specific and practical solutions for implementation at the earliest."