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Rahul's promise of woman chief minister creates flutter.

Hyderabad: Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi's dream of a woman chief minister for Telangana state has set the cat among the pigeons in the party which has a long list of leaders aspiring to occupy the chair.

Rahul's remarks at an election rally in Hyderabad have set tongues wagging in the party and outside. While the patriarchs in the party were squirming in discomfort over the prospects of facing fresh challenge from the fair sex, the women leaders have already started weighing their respective chances.

Telangana State Congress Committee chief Ponnala Lakshmaiah (backward class leader), former deputy Chief Minister Damodar Rajanarasimha (Dalit), K Jana Reddy (Reddy caste) were among the leaders who were fancying their chances of becoming the first Chief Minister of Telangana state if Congress comes to power.

Andhra Pradesh during its 60 year long history did not have a single woman Chief Minister, though quite a few have risen to important positions. In fact Andhra Pradesh had the distinction of having the country's first woman Home Minister when YS Rajashekhar Reddy gave the key portfolio to P Sabita Indira Reddy. But she had to resign after CBI included her name in a charge sheet in a corruption case related to YS Jagamohan Reddy's disproportionate assets case. She is not contesting the assembly elections this time.

Dr J Geeta Reddy, D K Aruna, Sunita Lakshma Reddy, film stars jaya Sudha and Vijaya Shanti were among the senior women leaders contesting elections on the Congress tickets. Geeta Reddy was the senior most among them and once she was also in the race for deputy chief ministership as she is also a Dalit. If Geeta Reddy is chosen to lead Telangana as its first chief minister, Congress can hope to woo both the Dalits and the women.

But how serious Rahul was when he talked of a woman Chief Minister is a million dollar question.

Political observers see it as an attempt to counter the Telangana Rashtra Samiti as well as Telugu Desam. While TRS President K Chandrasekhar Rao was facing flak for going back on his earlier promise of making a Dalit the first chief minister of Telangana and aspiring to become the chief minister, TDP President Chandrababu Naidu has named a backward class leader and a green horn in politics R Krishnaiah as the chief ministerial candidate for Telangana. His move has ruffled many feathers in TDP as there were many other backward class leaders who aspired to be the chief minister.

Taking a dig at Chandrababu Naidu's announcement, CPM leader BV Raghavulu asked why Naidu was not naming a BC leader to be chief minister of Seemandhra state. "Are you promising a BC chief minister for Telangana because TDP has no chance of winning the elections here", he asked. Naidu himself was keen to become the chief minister of Seemandhra saying only he can ensure development of the new state.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 27, 2014
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