Rajya Sabha poll brings Congress regional divide to the fore in AP

Published Jan 29, 2014, 4:53 am IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 8:17 am IST
Congress candidate for Rajya Sabha from Hyderabad, T. Subbrami Reddy, files nomination papers in the presence of AP Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and other leaders in Hyderabad on Tuesday - PTI
 Congress candidate for Rajya Sabha from Hyderabad, T. Subbrami Reddy, files nomination papers in the presence of AP Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy and other leaders in Hyderabad on Tuesday - PTI

Hyderabad: The biennial elections to the Rajya Sabha has come as a test of loyalty for Congress leaders from coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions of Andhra Pradesh.

On the last day of nominations on Tuesday, eight candidates, including two Congress rebels, filed their papers for the six seats on offer, while two rebels jumped into the fray on a 'united Andhra Pradesh' plank, challenging the Congress high command.

Congress' official nominees T. Subbarami Reddy, K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and M.A. Khan, who have been renominated by the party, filed their papers, while Telugu Desam's Garikapati Mohan Rao and Sitarama Lakshmi also submitted their nominations to legislature secretary S. Raja Sadaram.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, Deputy CM Damodara Rajanarasimha, Pradesh Congress Committee president Botsa Satyanarayana and some other ministers accompanied the Congress nominees.

Former MP K. Keshava Rao, who defected from the Congress, filed his papers as the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) candidate for the biennial election slated for February 7.

Congress MLC K.V. Satyanarayana Raju alias Chaitanya Raju and MLA Adala Prabhakar Reddy also filed their papers as party rebels. However, it was being speculated in assembly lobbies today that the rebels might withdraw from the contest at the last minute, making the election unanimous.

For Congress leaders from Seemandhra, who have been seething over the high command's decision to bifurcate the state, the Rajya Sabha elections is expected to be a test of their loyalty – between the party and the united AP cause.

For the record, however, K.V. Satyanarayana Raju (Chaitanya Raju) and Adala Prabhakar Reddy said that they would not withdraw from the contest under any circumstances.

In fact, Adala, who currently an MLA, alleged that he was being 'threatened' by some ministers and legislators to withdraw his candidature.

Threats were also being issued to legislators who backed his candidature, Adala said, adding that "I will not be cowed down and will remain in the fray," he said.

Interestingly, two ministers Ganta Srinivasa Rao and Erasu Pratap Reddy are said to have supported Chaitanya Raju's candidature. Though two other ministers initially offered to support Raju or Adala, they subsequently backed out.

"Raju said he will secure the party's candidature and hence I signed the nomination in his support," Pratap Reddy said.

Senior most MLA J.C. Diwakar Reddy, who had indicated for the past few days that he too would be in the fray, backed out of the contest on Tuesday.

Congress sources claimed that Diwakar Reddy opted out to ensure 'Samaikya Andhra' (united AP) votes did not split. Meanwhile, the Pradesh Congress Committee chief said that disciplinary action would be initiated against legislators who filed nominations as rebels.

Action would also be taken against MLAs who supported the rebels' candidature, he said.

On the other hand, the TRS sought support from the seven-member Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) for Keshava Rao.

CPI, which has four MLAs, announced its support to the TRS, while the BJP, with an equal number of legislators is also expected to follow suit. The Majlis, however, reportedly made it clear to the TRS that it would not support Keshava Rao if the BJP too backed him.

"We can't be seen siding with the BJP on any issue," the Majlis leadership reportedly told TRS leaders.

In the event, the TRS would have to bank on the Congress for secure Keshava Rao's victory.

"Given the regional divide in the state, we may support Keshava Rao, since we want a Telangana leader to win," Information Technology Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah said.

Since the Congress fielded only three 'official' candidates, it would have many 'spare' votes which could be transferred to TRS, party sources said.

Location: Andhra Pradesh


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