Congress President Rahul Gandhi and United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Friday accused Telangana’s caretaker Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao of neglecting the state’s development. The Opposition party leaders were addressing a rally in Medchal ahead of the state’s Assembly elections, scheduled for December 7.

Sonia Gandhi urged the people of Telangana to use their votes to teach the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and its chief K Chandrasekhar Rao, popularly known as KCR, a “lesson”. This was the former Congress president’s first rally for the Assembly elections later this year. On November 9, the Congress had announced its “Prajakutami” alliance with the Telugu Desam Party, Communist Party of India and the Telangana Jana Samithi.

The UPA chairperson said, “The chief minister [KCR] has cared only for himself and his own people, leaving the child [Telangana] to suffer....Dalits, Adivasis, minorities, backward classes, women and students – everybody has been neglected by this government. How many promises made by the chief minister have been fulfilled?”

Sonia Gandhi drew parallels between a mother and child, and herself and Telangana. The UPA chief said the state’s condition had deteriorated since its bifurcation from Andhra Pradesh in June 2014. “Every mother wants her children to grow stronger and have a bright future,” she said. “But I am able to see how you are still struggling with lack of development even after four years.”

The Congress and the Telangana Rashtra Samithi have conflicting claims about what led to the state’s formation. While the Congress claims credit for the bifurcation being implemented under its UPA regime, the KCR-led party maintains that its agitation for a separate state led to Telangana’s formation. “It was no easy decision [bifurcation], as I had to keep in mind the sentiments and feelings of people from both Andhra and Telangana regions,” she said. “We had to face political consequences because of the formation of Telangana. Inspite of this, we went ahead and carved out Telangana.”

Rahul Gandhi praised his mother’s role in the formation of the state. “Sonia Gandhi dreamed the dream of Telangana with you,” the Congress president told the gathering. “For the past five years, one person ruled over Telangana. This [Congress-led] alliance will provide the people of the state with employment and change the state for good.”