Congress’ Yaskhi springs surprise win as stalwarts lose

By Mohammed Shafeeq, IANS,

Hyderabad : The simultaneous elections to the Andhra Pradesh assembly and Lok Sabha threw many surprises and notable among them is the victory of Madhu Goud Yaskhi of the Congress party in Nizamabad constituency despite the defeat of party stalwarts in the assembly segments.

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All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary retained the Lok Sabha seat though Congress candidates in six out of seven assembly segments that come under his constituency bit the dust.

The losers include party heavyweights like state Congress chief D. Srinivas, speaker K.R. Suresh Reddy, ministers Jeevan Reddy and Ratnakar Rao, who have been legislators three to four times.

Yaskhi, who was fielded again by the party’s central leadership ignoring the opposition from his rivals within the state unit, attributes his victory to the positive vote for the Congress and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) across the country and his efforts for the development of Telangana and for separate statehood to the region.

“It was an unusual and historical result as six out of the seven Congress candidates in assembly segments lost the elections but I was elected with a majority of over 60,000 votes,” Yaskhi told IANS.

The Congress leader polled 295,474 votes, defeating his nearest rival B. Ganesh Gupta of Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) by a margin of over 60,390 votes. The assembly segments under his constituency are spread over both in Nizamabad and Karimnagar districts.

Yaskhi, a strong votary of separate Telangana, claimed that Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Karimnagar and her statement on the issue also helped him sail through.

On why party stalwarts failed to make it to the assembly, he said they never talked about the Telangana issue. He attributed the same to the poor performance of the party in Nizamabad, Karimnagar and Adilabad districts.

He feels that the results were a jolt to the TRS and not to the movement for separate Telangana. He said the people of the region rejected TRS for aligning with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), which opposed separate Telangana but changed its stand only for electoral gains.

“People did not believe them as they also joined hands with CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist), which is strongly opposed to Telangana state,” he said.

Yaskhi feels that development of the region and the efforts for creation of separate state should go hand in hand.

“The Congress party alone can help create the separate state. The party high command is seized of the matter while a house committee has also been formed in the state assembly to hear the concerns of other regions,” he said.

Yaskhi, 49, had left a flourishing law practice in New York to contest his first election to the Lok Sabha in 2004. He also founded the Madhu Yaskhi Foundation to provide financial help to the families of farmers who committed suicide, educate their children and provide healthcare facilities and education in rural areas.