Uttam Kumar Reddy in Congress top panel
DECCAN CHRONICLE | G. Ram Mohan
Hyderabad: In a significant promotion, former TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy has been elected to the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the Congress, which selects all party MLA and MP candidates throughout the country. This committee will work for five years and is on par with the Congress Working Committee, the party’s highest decision-making body.
The appointment indicates the importance the Congress high command attaches to the former TPCC president, a five-time MLA and currently Nalgonda MP. As a former Indian Air Force pilot, Uttam Kumar Reddy has worked in the office of the President in a senior position. The appointment to the CEC comes in recognition of his long and loyal service to the party.
The others in the committee are Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, former party presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, Ambika Soni, Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Salman Khurshid, Madhusudhan Mistry, T.S. Singh Deo, K.J. George, Pritam Singh, Mohammad Javed, Amee Yajnik, P.L. Punia, Omkar Markam and organising secretary K.C. Venugopal.
Meanwhile, the screening committee led by K. Muraleedharan, Kerala MP, met the Pradesh Election Committee members and sought their opinion on the aspirants.
Former PCC president V. Hanumantha said that every political party was battling for BC votes after Rahul Gandhi took up the issue of BC reservations in proportion to their population. "Our OBC Parliamentary committee has been seeking the removal of the creamy layer but the NDA has kept it in cold storage. We sought an increase in seats to accommodate BC candidates as we constitute 54 per cent of the population. The PCC president said they are going to give 34 seats but we asked for more," he told Muraleedharan.
Sangareddy MLA and TPCC working president A. Jayaprakash ‘Jagga’ Reddy wrote to screening committee chairman and sought tickets for former PCC presidents. He specifically cited the case of former minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah; the former TPCC chief is facing stiff competition from Kommuri Pratap Reddy, Jangaon DCC president.
Sources said a senior BC leader who met Muraleedharan is said to have asked why BCs from other parties were winning and conveyed the need for grooming party candidates much ahead the of elections. This he is said to have said can be done by giving them party positions in advance.
MLC T. Jeevan Reddy who met the chairman is said to have conveyed the need for choosing candidates based on the winnability of the candidates along with giving priority to weaker sections.