Hyderabad: Congress MLA Adala Prabhakar Reddy, who jumped into the Rajya Sabha elections fray as a rebel, on Thursday announced 'withdrawal' of his candidature.
Reddy, who decided to fight on the plank of 'Samaikyandhra' (integrated Andhra Pradesh), told reporters that he was withdrawing from the contest as his defeat may send a signal that the cause of keeping AP united has lost steam.
"I am withdrawing (from the contest) to protect the cause of Samaikyandhra. If I lose, an argument that our cause has lost strength may arise," he said.
His decision to withdraw from the contest, scheduled for Friday, came following a meeting with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Prabhakar Reddy, however, would technically continue to remain in contest as the election is scheduled for tomorrow and the last date for withdrawal of nominations was January 31 He said the YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), whose support he counted on, was not ready to back him, which made it difficult for him to continue.
"I took the decision after consulting four-five elders. Our senior leader J.C. Diwakar Reddy spoke to our MLAs. 22 MLAs still say they are ready to vote for me.
"About 35 MLAs came to CM (N Kiran Kumar Reddy) and we held talks with them. They said it is better for me to withdraw as I entered the contest on the belief that YSR Congress would support. But if they are not ready to support, the MLAs said you better withdraw. CM also said it would be difficult if you cannot win. We would not have objected had they (YSRCP) supported," Prabhakar Reddy said.
The official candidates in fray are - K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, T. Subbarami Reddy, M.A. Khan (Congress), T. Seetarama Lakshmi and Garikapati Mohan Rao (TDP) and K. Keshav Rao (TRS).
Given its current number of 146 in the Assembly that has an effective strength of 279 MLAs, the Congress seems comfortable in ensuring win of its three official candidates - Subbarami Reddy, K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao and M.A. Khan. A candidate needs a minimum of 37-39 votes to win the Rajya Sabha seat from the state.
Khan hails from Telangana and is likely to have full support of legislators from the region, while KVP – a close associate of late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy – has a strong network of supporters among the MLAs.
Prabhakar Reddy entered the contest as a rebel and had earlier refused to withdraw his candidature though the Congress leadership sought him to fall in line.
Reddy had banked on the support of the 17-member strong YSRCP, which supports united Andhra. However, YSRCP had announced that it would neither like to contest the election nor its MLAs participate in the voting....